Friday, August 2, 2013

Caste row rocks Govt Law College

A second year student of Government Law College was hospitalized after two groups of students clashed in the campus on Thursday. The clash was a sequel to a row over erecting flag poles to hoist caste flags in the campus. Though the college authorities had refused permission to students to install caste flags, various students groups had planned to pay homage to their respective caste leaders in the campus. The move had divided the student community and the unease spilled over leading to the violence on Thursday. The injured, K Naveen Prabhu, 21, has been admitted to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH). He told TOI that a group of nearly 30 students came to his classroom with swords and knives and attacked him. "I am not casteist. I think I was mistakenly targeted by them," says Prabhu. He said he can identify the students though he doesn't know their names. Ironically, the attack on Prabhu is suspected to be the handiwork of anti-caste students. Some of the students TOI spoke to claimed that a group of gounder students had planned to pay homage to freedom fighter Dheeran Chinnamalai in front of the college on Friday. A group of thevar students too had planned to keep the photograph of Pulidevan, a freedom fighter from the community, in front of the college campus to pay homage the same day. Vanniyar students had planned to support them. "Some students from Government Law College approached us to conduct floral tributes to Dheeran Chinnamalai and Pulidevan in front of the college campus on Thursday. But we denied permission," said V Thangadurai, deputy superintendent of police, Perur sub-division. He also added that the injured student Naveen Prabhu had given a letter stating that he was not prepared to lodge complaint against anybody. According to a professor at the college who didn't want to be named, students from gounder, thevar and dalit communities had approached the college management a few months ago seeking to install flag posts to hoist caste flags in the campus. But the college management refused said they will not allow caste-related flags in the campus and refused permission. Students from the thevar community had started 'Thevar Peravai' a few months ago and had planned to take a torch procession from the college to Ramanathapuram district to celebrate the birthday of Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar. Two months ago, gounder students started Kongu Vellala Gounder Peravai and decided to have a function for Dheeran Chinnamalai. And, dalit students had started Ambedkar Peravai two days ago. Pongalur R Manikandan, state president of Kongu Vellala Goundergal Peravai, who was invited to the function to pay floral tributes to "our freedom fighter Dheeran Chinnamalai", said there was nothing wrong in students organizing the programme. "But later I was informed that the programme was cancelled," he said. He added that some of the students had already paid tributes to Babasaheb Ambedkar. M Sudheer, principal, Government Law College, Coimbatore, told TOI that the issue was settled amicably. "I am discussing the issue with senior officials in my department," he said.

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