Officials have tea with Dalits after peace talks to eradicate untouchability

In a symbolic gesture aimed at ending untouchability against Dalits and twin- tumbler system at Echankottai village in Orathanadu taluk here, revenue and police officials along with office-bearers of Tamil Nadu Theendamai Ozhippu Munnani (Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front) sipped tea along with Dalits and people of other communities at three tea shops at the village on Sunday.

A team of officials and representatives of the front comprising R. Banugopan, tasildhar of Orathanadu; K. Mahadevan, inspector of police, Orathanadu; K. Ganesh, State secretary of TN Theendamai Ozhippu Munnani, and Chinnai. Pandiyan, district secretary, Munnani, participated.

Common tumblers

People from different communities were supplied tea in common tumblers. Later, three Dalits also had their haircut at barber shops in the village under the supervision of the officials.

The official intervention followed allegations made by the Munnani that twin-tumbler system prevailed in the tea shops in Echankotti and that Dalits were not served at hair dressing shops run by caste Hindus.

The Munnani people have toured nearly 40 villages in Thanjavur, Orathanadu, Thiruvaiyaru and Ammapettai for the past few weeks on a fact-finding mission on prevalence of untouchability.

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