Despite repeated pleas from Samiyatha and her daughter Shanti, Sasikala used casteist language and threatened to whisk them away to a COVID-19 ward in the event that they had been discovered within the possession of beef once more
When Semaliyappan (78) and Samiyatha (75) determined to slaughter one among their cattle in April 2020, they did what everyone in Soriyankinathupalayam, a village in Tiruppur district, Tamil Nadu, does on such an event.
First, they mentioned with the village elders the rationale for the slaughter, this being that the cow had suffered accidents to its foot and had since been motionless.
Semaliyappan and Samiyatha, each farmers, couldn’t do a lot with the cattle after that, nor might any of their family members. Second, they determined proportions for distribution. Finally, they fastened a time and went forward with it.
Little did they know that this may be utilized by a authorities official to topic them to 2 hours of abusive, violent behaviour.
T Sasikala, Vellakovil Municipality Commissioner, barging into the residence of Semaliyappan on 11 April, demanded that they flip over all the meat in his house.
Her employees rounded up no matter they might discover and picked up them in just a few vessels.
To the shock of everybody current, T Sasikala then proceeded to pour black phenyl into all of the vessels, rendering all of the meat inedible. Images of her doing so had been then circulated, creating worry and furore throughout the district.
Despite repeated pleas from Samiyatha and her daughter Shanti, Sasikala used casteist language and threatened to whisk them away to a COVID-19 ward in the event that they had been discovered within the possession of beef once more.
Sasikala’s menace, of declaring the complete village a containment zone inspite of zero COVID-19 circumstances being reported there, didn’t go down effectively with the village ward officers, who pressed for motion in opposition to her.
Firstpost visited Soriyankinathupalayam village to talk to the household about what transpired the night time of 11 April. Edited excerpts of the interview with Semaliyappan, Samiyatha and Shanti observe:
What occurred that day?
Semalaiyyapan: Our cattle injured its toes after which we knew we would not be capable of rear it. After discussing it with individuals within the village, we determined to distribute its meat. At that point, all types of meat, be it hen or mutton, all the things was out there publicly. This lockdown wasn’t too strict. Everything was open. So I slaughtered it, and distributed it to 30 surrounding villages. I used to be to ship it to 4 or 5 extra villages, some elements had been nonetheless left to be distributed. On that day, that amma (refereeing to Sasikala) arrived round 11.
At 11 am?
Shanti: No, 11 within the night time, 11 pm.
See, the animal was on its deathbed anyway, nothing may very well be performed about it. We had completed all the things by 9 pm itself, people had additionally taken no matter they needed by then. Somebody from our village knowledgeable her [Sasikala].
First, they got here and left since all of the lights had been off. We had been all sleeping, truly. She got here right here and went again, after which she known as her informer. On saying that she couldn’t discover any meat, her informer instructed her to journey again additional south and gave her landmarks. Then, that madam parked her jeep forward, and walked in direction of our house. Her method was horrible. Her language was horrible. Can you behave and converse like that with individuals from marginalised castes? Do you understand how she tortured us? Me, my mom, none of us got here out.
She drove everyone, all of the neighbours away. She requested us why we’re current there, she instructed everyone to depart. My father can be previous, he was scared they’d hit him, so he hid.
Semalaiyyapan: Yes, I used to be standing in that nook.
How lots of them got here?
Shanti: There had been 4 or 5 individuals from the municipality, possibly a few cops.
So what did they do as soon as they had been right here? What did they are saying?
Semalaiyyapan: They requested us if we’ve slaughtered for meat. The blood was there, so it was understood anyway. Some of the elements, like the pinnacle, had been mendacity there. They collected all of the remaining left over meat inside the home, and poured black phenyl on it.
Shanti: Officers from the municipality began pointing to elements of the animal mendacity right here and stated, “Will these Chakaliyar (referring to the scheduled caste community of Arunthathiyars) community dogs die if they don’t eat beef?” They left first after which returned, utilizing such casteist phrases, and creating such a commotion.
Samiyatha: They barged into our house with out even taking their slippers off.
Shanti: They requested for our identification playing cards, Aadhaar card. We didn’t know why they had been asking for these paperwork, however we nonetheless confirmed it to them.
Semalaiyyapan: Okay, they got here right here. They might have instructed us to not slaughter for meat now, or they might’ve registered a case in opposition to us, known as us to the police station or fined us. All this they might’ve performed, I might have been okay with it. But as a substitute, barging into our home [sic] and scaring us like that, behaving that aggressively with the ladies.
Samiyatha: They didn’t let anyone from the village come to our rescue. Nobody got here to assist us, from their aspect no less than 10 had been there.
Semalaiyyapan: What they did for 2 hours, we couldn’t tolerate in any respect.
Shanti: She instructed us that she’ll take us to the federal government hospital and admit us on the COVID-19 ward. I instructed her that my husband has handed away and that my father will come. I pleaded together with her to allow us to go this one time. How a lot I begged her, this Sasikala madam.
What did they do after pouring black phenyl over the meat?
Shanti: They carried it away.
Did they are saying why they poured phenyl over the meat?
Shanti: That’s what, she was saying that we shouldn’t slaughter and eat beef. She saved asking why we did this.
Semalaiyyapan: She went into the kitchen and did all this. All our cooked meals was saved there. She stood there and poured the phenyl over the meat. It sprayed on all of the cooked meals saved there. Everything went to waste. My granddaughter was so scared. None of us ate that day.
She instructed you to not eat beef?
Shanti: Yes, she did.
Samiyatha: She stood inside the home and took images. My daughter was in tears. She (Sasikala) instructed us to get into the jeep. I even went until there. My daughter began crying…
Shanti: I attempted to inform her that I reside individually…
Samiyatha: I instructed her (Sasikala) that there was no connection between this and my daughter, and that she lives in one other home up forward. I instructed her that we solely distributed beef, not her, I stated there is no such thing as a connection between the incident and her. She instructed me to close up.
Samiyatha: Yes, to me.
Without bearing in mind that you’re a lot older?
Samiyatha: What age? She barged in right here and kicked the door together with her toes, together with her slippers on. She stated, ” Coronavirus is there, you shouldn’t eat all this.” She was saying we’ll get coronavirus if we eat this.
Shanti: Everybody is consuming hen curry, mutton curry, however provided that we eat this, we’ll get coronavirus , it appears. She saved saying that she is doing this to stop coronavirus , and that we’ll get coronavirus if we eat this.
Did you ask her who gave her this data?
Shanti: I requested, however she didn’t give us the quantity. But we nonetheless wish to know who complained. Somebody from this village has performed this, that inspite of coronavirus , these individuals are consuming beef, and that she ought to come examine.
If solely I occur to be nose to nose with that girl, she’ll need to reply the questions I pose to her, that’s how it’s for me once I take into consideration the incident. I used to be pleading with folded palms, even my aged mom was.
So she (Sasikala) instructed you that by consuming this meat, you’ll get coronavirus ?
Semalaiyyapan: We weren’t knowledgeable earlier than, solely when she got here right here, she instructed us. If we had been knowledgeable about this earlier than, we wouldn’t have performed it.
Did you ask if the federal government has issued such an order?
Samiyatha: No, however she wasn’t listening to something we stated. She was simply doing her personal factor.
Nither the TN authorities nor the Central Government has issued any such order…
Samiyatha: But this girl stated there’s an order like that.
Shanti: She returned the following day to distribute biscuits. I requested her why she dragged my title into this although I’ve nothing to do with this. My title was printed within the paper.
Shanti: Yes, my title, Shanti, that I used to be concerned on this meat situation, it got here within the DinaThanthi paper. I requested why she had used my title, I instructed her to answer. She stated, ‘I haven’t come right here to speak about that, I’ve solely come right here to distribute biscuits.’ All the individuals right here stated we gained’t take biscuits from her. We stated that she had poured phenyl into our meals, who is aware of what’s within the biscuits. They didn’t come out within the night time however possibly they felt a little bit braver, so everyone assembled right here and refused to take the biscuits. She simply left after that.
That girl is saying she did this as a part of coronavirus safety. How can we settle for this? That is what she is saying in all places.
Okay, so now what, are you going to eat beef?
Shanti: Yes, we’ll eat. Can’t be with out consuming beef [sic] and all. We will eat.
Shanti and Samiyatha: Apparently that is what the federal government is telling her to do, to return at odd hours and do all this. Is that what the federal government is telling them to do? You solely inform us.
After information of the incident went viral, an inquiry was ordered into the actions of T Sasikala by District Collector Okay Vijaya Karthikeyan. The inquiry was carried out by a tehsildar, the report of which is but to be launched. The Dalit Liberation Movement has tried a number of occasions to entry this report however their requests have been denied.
Semaliyappan, Samiyatha and Shanti have submitted a number of petitions to the police and district administration demanding that motion be taken in opposition to Sasikala for the casteism, verbal violence and public humiliation that they had been subjected to.
No FIR below the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 has been registered in opposition to Sasikala nor has any type of disciplinary motion been taken.
Semaliyappan, Samiyatha and Shanti had been summoned by Sasikala for settlement talks in October, however they refused to be part of it.
“We want action to be taken against her for what she did. That is all we want,” says Shanti.
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