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Coimbatore: Caste Hindus of a nondescript village on the outskirts of Coimbatore allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old dalit boy on Sunday for attempting to fetch drinking water from a public tap in the area.
The boy, A Vasanthakumar, is now recovering at a government hospital in Annur, about 25km away from Coimbatore. A Class X student, Vasanthakumar belongs to the dalit Chakkiliya community. He resides at Nallichetty Palayam, a dalit hamlet outside Annur town. The area is reeling under extreme water scarcity.
As per the complaint lodged with the police, Vasanthakumar on late Sunday evening went on his bicycle with empty pots to Karikkilipalayam, about 4km away from his home, to fetch water. Dominated by Kongu Chettiyars, classified as a most backward caste, Karikkilipalayam is blessed with round the clock water supply as a pipeline of the Pillur water scheme passes through it. He reached a public tap located at around 9pm and started collecting water. Three women of the Chettiyar community, who had come to the tap, started abusing him using caste names. When he protested, they beat him up. The women told him that they would not allow any untouchable to fetch water. Alocal butcher named P Damodaran Chettiyar also roughed him up.
Vasanthakumar, who sustained injuries in the attack, was admitted to Annur hospital. His father Anandan, a coolie, said dalits were prevented from cutting hair at saloons in the locality and prevented from using mobile phones outside their huts.