Dalit group alleges police atrocity

KOCHI: Dalit protesters at Vadayambadi near Puthencruz alleged police atrocity after a group of dalit activists, who were on a hunger strike against preventing right of way by a temple administration committee, were arrested on Sunday morning.
Dalit Bhu Avakaashamunnai (Land Rights Front), which leads the protests here said that a police team arrived at the protest venue at around 5.30am on Sunday. The protesters said that seven persons were arrested and police personnel assaulted the remaining people in the vicinity. Three persons were arrested for attempting to live-stream the police action through social media as well, said protesters.

“The police had reached the protest venue along with revenue officials and dragged our activists into the police vehicle without any provocation. Police also pulled down the protest camp,” said Joy Pavel, who is among the protesters.

The arrested protesters are identified as Prakash, Ramakrishnan, Prasad, Praveen, Rejeesh, Ayyappan Kutty and Madhavan. The persons are booked under sections 153, 188, 280 and 34 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, Ananthu from Muvattupuzha, Abhilash, an engineering graduate from Kannur and Sasidharan, a local resident, were booked on charges of obstructing a public servant.

Protesters said that the three persons, who were trying to live-streamed the video were assaulted by the cops in public. The dalit organization had later staged a march to the Puthencruz police station in the evening. Protesters had in April 2017 pulled down a 400 metre compound wall constructed around a ground near the Bhajanamadam Bhagavathi Temple.

“An indefinite hunger strike at the venue was launched to raise various demands ranging from cancellation of the title deed given to the temple authorities for revenue land to other issues relating to a property near which dalits are residing in four settlements,” said protesters. Police, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue.

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