Landless Dalit labourers of two villages took over temple lands at Thillayadi for cultivation on Monday.

They were reacting to the temple administration's invitation for bids on the lands.

The lands of the Saarndharai Kaatha Swami Devasthanam under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments were rendered fallow for more than 25 years because of non-cultivation.

In September 2010, the Dalits had forcibly taken over 15 acres belonging to the temple after requests to the temple administration for leasing out the fallow lands for cultivation proved futile. The crops were ravaged by the recent rain.

Temple lands are usually leased out for annual revenue in the form of harvested produce for the temple.

Speaking to The Hindu, the villagers said that the temple authorities had never reached out to the labourers ever since the incident of land takeover in September. Now, the temple administration was set to auction the lands on Wednesday.

Keywords: Dalitsethnic issues

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