Union Finance Minister P.Chidambaram has demanded action against police personnel and revenue officials who were responsible for the demolition of Dalit houses at Pappankulam, near here. Over 25 concrete houses, including four houses built under the Indira Awas Yojana and the remaining built during the late Chief Minister Kamaraj’s period, on patta land, were pulled down on August 15 and 18 by the Sirukudi panchayat administration on the ground that they were built by encroaching the road.
Visiting the affected families on Sunday afternoon, Mr. Chidambaram expressed shock on hearing that the houses were pulled down in the presence of a police official in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). “Illegal demolition has taken place in the presence of the husband of local panchayat president (T. Amsavalli who has been arrested) with the patronage of the police,” he said. Mr. Chidambaram, who represents Sivaganga constituency went around the lanes and by lanes as the affected people narrated their experience. He said it was unbelievable that the Collector, top police official and revenue officials were unaware of the illegal act, which was carried out on two days. Quoting the affected people, he said on August 15, a DSP was present when the demolition took place and it was surprising that no action was taken against him. The people have named the DSP but he did not want to disclose the name, he said and wanted the State government, Director General of Police and Home Secretary to intervene and place under suspension all the police personnel, right from constable to the higher official who were present when the houses were being demolished. The Collector should take action against officials responsible for the incident, he said. Thanking the State government for distributing a relief of Rs. 60,000 each to the affected families, Mr. Chidambaram said “this is not enough and the government should rebuild the houses.” He said he was initially told that the houses were demolished to clear a public way, but a visit to the area revealed that the houses were pulled down in an act of vengeance.
Mr Chidambaram wondered why the affected people did not bring it to the notice of the Superintendent of Police or Collector when the panchayat administration began the demolition.
He also flayed a local Congress leader for failing to bring the incident to the notice of higher authorities when the demolition was being carried out on August 15.