Is Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagham (TPDK) guilty of crimes under SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act?

This article originally appeared in HinduPost and The Rational Hindu.

Image copyright: The Hindu (The images are from The Hindu Tamil சித்தரை மலர் 2016).

The images are from The Hindu Tamil சித்தரை மலர் 2016 showing an SC community, the potters, wearing the sacred thread.The sacred thread is worn by many backward, scheduled castes and tribes (SC and ST) communities. It is worn by carpenters, goldsmiths, potters, weavers, Vanniyars, Chettiars, many sects of Pariyar community, etc.

Recently, PDK boldly publicised that they will endow the same sacred thread worn by various Scheduled Caste communities and backward communities on a pig, and in an avowedly derogatory manner.

This falls afoul of Section (t) of the PoA Act 1989, as amended 2015. The law says that anybody who, “destroys, damages or defiles any object generally known to be held sacred or in high esteem by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes.” is an offender under the provisions of the Act. The sacred thread is clearly such an object that happens to be held sacred by many members of an array of non-Brahmin communities, including many SC and ST communities.

Image copyright: The Hindu (The images are from The Hindu Tamil சித்தரை மலர் 2016 showing an SC community, the potters, wearing the sacred thread.)

The police authorities and the government of Tamil Nadu only removed such publicity material but refrained from taking any legal action as prescribed by the said law. Such a lapse on the part of the authorities could also possibly be unlawful as per the same law: “4. (1) Whoever, being a public servant but not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, willfully neglects his duties required to be performed by him under this Act and the rules made there under, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year.”

Now one has to wait to see if the government and the police will act on this, or perhaps if the Honorable High Court will take a suo moto notice of such gross violations of law by prominent organisations, and the government and its authorities themselves.

As usual, Hindus are waiting and waiting for justice.

This article originally appeared in HinduPost and The Rational Hindu.

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