Dalits to intensify temple stir
By K Ezhilarasan / ENS - VILLUPURAM
14th September 2012 08:20 AM
Dalits of Sesasamudhram in Villupuram district, demanding permission for pulling the new car of their Amman temple through the thoroughfare of the village, are likely to intensify their agitation by roping in political parties after 42 Dalits, 25 of them women, were arrested on Tuesday midnight for organising a hunger strike violating prohibitory orders.
As heavy police pickets have been posted in the village, the Dalits might take the agitation to other places in the district - posters decrying the denial of permission for the car festival have already appeared at many villages - and turn to political parties for support.
VCK would stage a huge protest at Sankarapuram soon in which party leader Thol Thirumavalavan would participate, party state general secretary, Chinthanai Selvan, told Express.
“We have dealt with many problems related to temple festivals. In all those cases, caste Hindus denied permission for Dalits to enter temples. Those problems could be solved by holding talks.
But this problem is peculiar as at this village, caste Hindus and Dalits have their own temples and temple cars. The caste Hindus are not allowing the Dalits to pull their temple car on the public road. This is apparently an unlawful act. As per the law, the police should have registered cases against the offenders and arrested them. Instead, the police arrested the Dalits,” Selvan said.
Demanding permission for the festival, 25 Dalit women began a continuous hunger strike four days ago, which led to the RDO imposing section 144 on September 9 and police arresting all the women and 15 men for allegedly violating prohibitory orders.
RDO Elangovan said: “As the women were sitting on the hunger strike, many outsiders were coming to the village in vehicles to extend their support. Fearing the the situation might aggravate, we imposed section 144.” The new temple car was donated by the panchayat president of Sesasamudhram village recently, following which the Dalits started preparations for the car festival last month.
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