Dalits from Vellakoil block petitioned the Collector and Superintendent of Police on Wednesday seeking the officials' intervention to ensure that the people from the community were given unrestricted access into the ‘New Uthamapalayam Mariamman temple' situated in the block without any caste discrimination.
They also demanded that the 350 sovereign jewellery and huge cash assets of the original Uthamapalayam Mariamman temple, which is now under the custody of a private trust, be returned to the temple.
Uthamapalayam Temple entry agitation committee convener S. Karuppaiah told The Hindu that the representation was made based on the incident which took place on October 21 when the Dalits from Uthampalayam, Dasavanaickenpatti and nearby hamlets were denied entry into the ‘New Uthamapalayam Mariamman temple' by caste Hindus.
The ‘New Uthamapalayam temple', according to Mr Karuppiah, has been built by the caste Hindus who had stated that allowing the entry of Dalits in the original Uthamapalayam temple from 2005 made the shrine lose its sanctity.
On the transfer of jewellery and cash of the original Mariamman temple, Mr. Karuppiah said it was disturbing to understand that the jewellery and cash belonging to the temple had mysteriously gone into the hands of a trust formed only in 1983 whereas the temple was taken over by the HR&CE department way back in 1962 itself.
The Dalits in the locality, according to him, wanted the officials concerned to take steps for stopping caste discrimination and to distribute a share of the 240 acre of temple land in the area, which had gone into the hands of ‘benami' persons over a period, to the Dalits.
The committee members also requested the police to arrest all persons belonging to the caste Hindus who had unleashed attack on the Dalit population on October 21 when they tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the ‘New Uthamapalayam Mariamman temple'.