Comrade Mariappan, Branch secretary of 44th ward in Tirunelveli municipal corporation, was beheaded by communal, casteist lumpen forces on 20 July as ‘punishment’ for defying their dictates. Com. Mariappan, aged 24 years, belonged to the most backward washerman community.
An AIPF fact-finding team visited Tirunelveli on 26 July 2016. The team included AIPF Tamil Nadu campaign committee member and Vice President of state PUCL Prof. Murali, state President of Karnataka PUCL and AIPF National Campaign Committee member Dr. Laxmi Narayanan, National council member of AIPF Mr. G. Ramesh, state campaign committee member of AIPF Mr.Vidya Sagar, state Joint Secretary of PUCL Prof. Fathima Babu, Treasurer of state PUCL P Kanmani, state secretary of AISA Karnataka Mr Prasad, and Central Committee member of CPI (ML) Com. Balasundaram. The team met the family of Mariappan and his comrades, and demanded that the State recognize the matter to be a caste atrocity and take appropriate measures for the safety and dignity of the oppressed castes. It emerged that the wife of Mariappan has also been threatened with the killing of her unborn baby. The team demanded protection for her.
CPI(ML) called for a massive protest on 29 July 2016 and this was attended by people of that area including his pregnant wife. Com. Sundarrajan, City secretary of CPI (ML) presided over the protest demonstration. The demonstration was addressed by state secretary Com. Kumarasamy, Central committee member Com. Shankar, AIPF National council member Com. Ramesh and several other district leaders from other left organizations. CPI (ML) activists from all over Tamil Nadu also took part. After the demonstration, hundreds of people went to the collector’s office and submitted a memorandum to the District Collector demanding Rs.25 lakh as compensation to the family, a government job to the wife of the deceased Com. Mariappan, protection to the people from casteist lumpen elements backed by the Hindu Munnani and a stringent punishment to the perpetrators of the heinous murder. Demonstrations were also held in several other places across Tamil Nadu to condemn the murder.