ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Laxmipet Dalit Killings

A land dispute may have been the immediate cause of the June 2012 attack on dalits in Laxmipet, a village in Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, but the episode signals a potentially explosive situation. The incident was fuelled, on the one hand, by the dalit desire for self-respect and identity, embodied in the increasing assertion of a female dalit sarpanch, and on the other, by the state-level political advancement of the backward caste Kapu community. Particularly disturbing are the participation of Kapu women and children in the killings, and the failure of dalit offi cials and politicians in preventing the incident and securing justice for the victims.

The sleepy village of Laxmipet in Vangara mandal in Srikakulam district of northern coastal Andhra flashed on news channels on 12 June. In the early morning hours of that day, a large posse of Turpu Kapus, comprising men, women and even teenage children drawn from the village and the neighbouring villages, arrived in tractors, auto­rickshaws and bicycles. This horde gathered and vengefully pounced on the unsuspecting Malas, who live on the other side of the road that separates them from the Turpu Kapus. In the orgy which went on for four hours, five Malas were killed and more than two dozen were seriously injured. This number included women and even children. The fact that 80 Kapus were arrested and jailed shows the scale and magnitude of the riot in terms of planning, motive and participation.

A Resettlement Problem

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