It has been known for a while that Dhanush‘s upcoming film Karnan, which is directed by Mari Selvaraj has caste connotations to it. Now, the movie’s official synopsis confirms that it majorly depicts the Manjolai labourers massacre that took place in Tirunelveli in 1999.
On the fateful day of July 23, 1999 around 5000 people including politicians and the media gathered in Tirunelveli to March towards the collectorate to protest against the arrest of Dalit workers who demanded better wages and working conditions at the Manjolai tea estate.
It is said that the Tamilnadu State Police (TSP) women who were stationed and thus blocking the way between the dry Thamirabarani river bed and one entry way to the collectorate were verbally abused by some of the volunteers who tried to get in to submit their plea.
This resulted in an altercation between the State Armed Police Forces (SAF) and the crowd, where they pelted stones at each other. When the stone-pelting got out of control, the SAF men started using lathi force and chased the crowd on the dry river bed.
Not knowing where to run, many of them jumped into the water, which resulted in the death of over 17 including two women and a child. The horrendous incident has since been dubbed the Jallianwallabagh of Tirunelveli.
Karnan is set in 1999 and Dhanush plays the titular character named Karna, who fights for the rights of ‘his’ people.