Justice eludes family of murderer Dalit man as TN court lacks judge

The report stated that the victim, U Rajamani, was killed five years ago, just for questioning why the upper-caste boys were throwing flowers from a funeral procession at the homes of Dalits.

The Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Court in Tami Nadu’s Tirunelveli district has remained without a judge for five months, distressing many litigants and, in particular, the family of a 19-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly killed by a group of six boys from upper caste, The Federal reported.

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The report stated that the victim, U Rajamani, was killed five years ago, just for questioning why the upper-caste boys were throwing flowers from a funeral procession at the homes of Dalits.

After police booked the accused under the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, the charge sheet was registered with Tirunelveli’s PCR court. However, the accused are still not brought to justice because of the absence of a judge for the last five months.

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“I anticipated their conviction within two years. Yet, we’ve only had two hearings in the PCR court over the past five years. I have lost all hope,” the victim’s father, Usaikumar, told The Federal.

Other complainants and advocates also asserted that this was not the first instance of the court being without a judge. “Before the last judge presided over the court in 2022, the position was not filled for at least two years,” they said.

Meanwhile, fearing for the lives of his wife and two other sons, Usaikumar has relocated his family to a different city.

“We have moved on from our own house to a rental one. My wife is depressed, unable to recover from the trauma of our eldest son’s death,” he mourned while alleging that the accused were living in the same locality and committing crimes with exemption.

He asked, “They now abuse Dalits and threaten them. Caste-related crimes are booked on them, but what’s the point when justice is delayed?”

The report further stated that between June and October 2023, Tirunelveli reported 15 cases of caste violence. Moreover, the violence is so severe that Dalit activists are urging the government to declare the district ‘caste-atrocity-prone.’

“Not only is the government silent over the declaration, but the district’s judicial system is in a state of apathy, providing no solution to the victims of caste crime,” Dalit rights activist Murugan Kanna said.

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