By S. Sundar & K. Raju
The police cordoned off Kannimari temple at Pavali near Virudhunagar
MADURAI: The ‘temple entry’ of Dalits organised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Virudhunagar and Dindigul districts ended on a mixed note on Thursday.
The police cordoned off the Kannimari alias Kamatchi Amman Temple at Pavali near Virudhunagar as its ownership is under dispute. CPI (M) cadres broke the cordon and forced their way for nearly 50 feet. Senior leaders persuaded them against entering the shrine. Madurai East MLA N. Nanmaran led the protest.
Earlier, CPI (M) leaders, including district secretary S. Balasubramanian, had a prolonged argument with Revenue officials. Aruppukottai Revenue Divisional Officer Venkatesan contended that the temple belonged to a private party and the dispute was pending in court. Hence entry could not be allowed.
“We do not want ownership rights (of the temple), but only the right to worship,” Mr. Balasubramanian argued. Over 300 men and women gathered outside the locked doors of the temple guarded by a strong posse of policemen. “Though the officials are preventing us (from entering the temple) citing legal tangles, it is for sure that the Dalits will not remain outside the temple for ever,” Mr. Nanmaran said while addressing the protestors.
District Revenue Officer S. Malarvathi promised to legally settle the issue at the earliest. Discussion between Revenue officials and representatives of the protestors went on till late in the evening with the protestors camping outside the temple. They dispersed at around 6.30 p.m.
At Old Ayakudi in Dindigul CPI (M) cadres and Dalits entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Uchi Makaliamman Temple that has remained closed since 1967.