Chennai: The country paid homage to the 44 Dalit martyrs of Kilvenmani massacre as the day marked 52nd anniversary of the gruesome event.
On 25 December 1968, 44 people belonging to Dalit communities were murdered by a gang of the upper caste landlords in Kilvenmani village, Tamil Nadu.
The victims, members of labour families, were targeted for taking part in a campaign demanding higher wages.
On the fateful night, the landlords and their 200 henchmen came in police lorries and surrounded the hutments, blocking all routes of escape. The attackers shot at the labourers and their children and women. The attackers set fire on a hut where many women, children and old men had taken refuge. The attackers ensured that fire does not dose off by stoking in hay and dry wood. According to eye witness account, two children thrown out from the burning hut in the hope that they would survive were thrown back into the flames by the assailants.
Though the landlords were convicted of involvement in the event, all of them were set free citing lack of evidence.
Writer Dr. Meera Kandasamy, whose novel The Gypsey Goddess is based on the event, paid salutes to the victims in twitter post.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader and Member of Parliament, Thol. Thirumavalavan said that the caste arrogance and feudal landlord insolence burnt the huts of Kilvenmani.