3,000 Dalits in Tamil Nadu to convert to Islam over ‘govt inaction after caste wall’ collapse

Source: The Print

By Rohini Swamy

Dalits say they will convert to Islam in phases. The decision comes weeks after a wall, built to keep them separated from OBCs, collapsed, killing 17 people.

Nearly 3,000 Dalits from five Tamil Nadu districts have decided to convert to Islam next month, alleging continued caste discrimination and torture. The decision comes weeks after a wall collapsed at Mettupalayam taluk in Coimbatore, killing 17 Dalits.

The 20-ft wall — known as the ‘caste wall’ — was built five years ago to keep the Dalits separated from their upper caste neighbours. It collapsed on 5 December due to incessant rains.

“We have been discriminated against for decades and six months ago, we had decided that we have had enough and will convert. The wall collapse gave us an opportunity to prove our point and explain to those who are ready as to why converting would give us peace of mind,” general secretary of Dalit rights outfit Tamil Puligal Katchi (TPK) M. Ilavenil told ThePrint.

All these 3,000 Dalits are members of the TPK and spread over five districts — Erode, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Namakkal and Salem.

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