Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Four families of Aaladipatti in the district are unable to get the State Government's free gas stove with LPG connection and the benefits of other welfare schemes, as they have been ostracised by the village elders and a group of people close to the Surandai town panchayat administration.

After S. Karaiyadi Madasamy's elder brother, S.S. Murugan of Aaladipatti committed suicide, allegedly under pressure from an usurer, the moneylender, supported by the elders of Aaladipatti, asked Mr. Madasamy to repay the "outstanding" amount by selling his property. When he refused, saying his brother had repaid the loan with interest, the families of Karaiyadi Madasamy and three of his brothers were ostracised.

"Since then, our families can't speak to any villager and buy anything from the shops at Aaladipatti. The village heads have proclaimed that a fine of Rs. 2,000 will be slapped on those who defy the dictum," says Mr. Madasamy, who submitted a petition to Collector G. Prakash on Monday.

Mr. Madasamy, who is renting out public address system, has been thrown out of business for the past eight months. His younger brother, S. Thirumalai Velu, a tailor, is searching for customers in the nearby villages, as Aaladipatti residents shun him. Only at the intervention of Superintendent of Police N.K. Senthamaraikannan, the Surandai police have registered cases pertaining to the suicide of Murugan, repeated threatening of Mr. Madasamy by usurer Periyasamy, of Kurungaavanam, and the social exclusion. However, none has been arrested.