A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court here praying for directions to the police to book MLA P. V. Kathiravan under SC/ST Act (prevention of atrocities), because the MLA reportedly fuelled the conflicts between caste Hindus and Dalits in a village near Chekkanoorani in Madurai district.

The petitioner P. Muthu Kannan (58), a dalit and a resident of Panyan village, near Chekkanoorani told the court through his counsel A. Rajini that the MLA allotted funds to construct a public auditorium in the village.

However, Mr. Kathiravan named the building after a caste Hindu leader (Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar), thereby denying access to the Dalits from using the auditorium, he said.

“The Dalits have to cross the pathway near the public auditorium to reach the cremation ground. Whenever there is a funeral procession to the cremation ground through the auditorium, the caste Hindus pelt stones at us from the auditorium, in order to prevent us from using the path near the building”, he alleged.

Mr. Muthu Kannan also stated that there is a high degree of untouchability in the village and that the Dalits are not allowed to wear footwear in the main streets of the village.

“We fight very hard to enjoy the fundamental rights guaranteed in our constitution”, he said through his counsel.

By naming a public building after a caste Hindu leader the MLA has promoted untouchability in the village, the petitioner said and added that Mr. Kathiravan is liable to be booked under the SC/ST Act.

On November 13, 2012 there was a conflict in the village, after the caste Hindus refused to allow the funeral procession of a Dalit woman through the pathway near the auditorium, he said. Following this, Mr. Muthu Kannan reportedly sent telegraphic representations to Madurai district administration and police, but no actions were initiated.

Therefore, in the public interest a writ petition has been filed, he said.

He also wanted the name of the caste leader to be removed from the building and that the Collector and Superintendent of Police should visit the village, assess the situation and file a report on the untouchability at the court, besides booking the MLA under the SC/ST Act. The Dalits should be given the patta for the path that leads to the cremation ground, he added.

Justice R. Subbiah adjourned the case to December 17.

  • Public Interest Litigation filed at Madurai Bench

  • “We fight very hard to enjoy the fundamental rights”