Dalits seek action against those who damaged their property
Villagers belonging to the Dalit community from S. Valayapatti near Tirumangalam petitioned the Collector here on Monday, seeking action against members of an intermediate caste after clashes ensued between the caste groups on June 8, resulting in damage to property, livestock and vehicles. R.Pichai, 65, a resident, said that tension between the two caste groups began in April when Dalits were prevented from taking part in the Mutthalamman Temple festival in the area.
“Until this day, we have not been allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and perform pujas as members of the intermediate caste do not allow it. The clashes seemed to escalate because members of the intermediate caste assumed that we were taking over the conduct of temple festivities,” he said.
After hate began festering between the two groups, the dominant caste in the village began cutting off drinking water supply. “The former Collector appointed two Dalits as anganwadi workers but members of the dominant caste refused to allow them to work and said that they would not allow their children to be fed by a Dalit woman,” alleged S. Chinnasamy, 52, another villager.
Villagers and members from various organisations, including Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front and Social Awareness Society for Youth and Social Justice, conducted fact-finding visits to the village. They demanded that the 28 persons accused in the case in the FIR filed by Nagayyapuram police on June 8 should be arrested. A total of 11 members have already been remanded by the police.M. Balasubramaniam of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front and R. Lalitha of the Social Awareness Society for Youth said that compensation for property loss and proper medical aid must be provided within three to seven days since the incident under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
They also called for police protection for the Dalits and proactive registration of cases pertaining to caste problems there.
“Untouchability still exists in schools, temples and bathing areas in our village. This must change,” said S. Muniyandi, a resident.
Courtesy: The Hindu