P.V. Srividya

SIRKAZHI: Dalits at Maathur village in Semmanarkoil here entered a Mariamman temple on Monday afternoon.

It was an impromptu move by the district administration after the two days of unsuccessful peace meetings held between caste Hindus and Dalits.

The Dalits in the village were not allowed to enter the temple as a practice. The Democratic Youth Federation of India had inspected the village in mid- December and filed a memorandum with the district administration on the prevalence of the practice. Later, the CPI (M) had tentatively proposed a temple entry for December 30.

However, the district administration intervened to hold peace talks, which were held unsuccessfully since Saturday. On Monday, a peace committee meeting was held with caste Hindus and Dalits in the presence of the Mayiladuturai RDO, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sirkazhi, and tahsildar. The caste Hindus were made to sign a peace agreement and it was impromptu decided to lead the Dalits into the temple immediately. On hearing the news of their arrival, the caste Hindus reportedly locked the doors of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and left the village. The locks were later broken in the presence of the RDO to facilitate the Dalits to offer their prayers.