Madurai

Caste group remove caste flags from poles

THOOTHUKUDI

Sustained efforts being taken by the police to foster communal harmony in the villages have encouraged one of the strong caste groups of southern districts to remove the poles carrying their caste flags from their village.

When a college student belonging to an intermediate caste was murdered on May 29, 2021 at Thalaivanvadali under Authoor police station by the youths of a different caste, the official machinery anticipated trouble. Despite several measures taken by the district administration to ensure peace, a salt pan worker was murdered in an apparent revenge on the first death anniversary of the college student.

The ‘sequel murder’ forced the top officials including Collector K. Senthil Raj and Superintendent of Police, L. Balaji Saravanan, to visit Authoor repeatedly until the tension got doused. Inspector General of Police, South Zone, Asra Garg, camped at Authoor along with DIG, Tirunelvel Range, Pravesh Kumar, to ensure early peace while discouraging the caste outfits from precipitating the volatile issue.

 Dr. Balaji Saravanan, who had taken an initiative ‘Maatraththai Thaedi’ (in search of change) in the district after he assumed office to ensure peace in the trouble-prone areas by involving the locals, intensified this programme after this ‘revenge murder’.

“Though the police can enforce law whenever there is no cooperation from the public, we want to ensure peace and rule of law by bringing about attitudinal change in the minds of public. We are organising district-level meetings in the villages, in which the people from all walks of life participate to air their grievances,” he said.

While the law and order issues are immediately addressed by the police officers concerned, other civic and infrastructure-related issues are taken care of by the authorities concerned.

“So far, we’ve organised 1,501 meetings in 59 days in which 49,500 people have participated,” says Dr. Balaji Saravanan.

 When the SP chaired a similar meeting at Thalaivanvadali on June 21, he discussed steps to strengthen peace in the village with the participants from different castes

He administered pledge to the villagers that they would never indulge in any act that would undermine the tranquillity of the village and peaceful living of its residents.

In a major step, people belonging to a particular caste decided to remove the pole with their ‘caste flag’ atop. Led by one Sivashankar, one of their leaders, the particular caste members removed the flag pole standing tall in the village on Sunday.

 “In the villages of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Tenkasi districts, every caste has their own flag with specific colours, which in fact gets reflected in the wrist bands or threads. They used to install poles n the villages where they live in large number as a show of their strength and removing it is one of the toughest jobs. But, the Thoothukudi Police have achieved this by bringing desirable change in their minds,” said a senior revenue official.

 “This move has brought about the desirable change in surrounding villages. Undoubtedly, it is going to stimulate the much-needed change being fostered by the police. Nonetheless, this has boosted the confidence of the officers, who are diligently sowing the seeds of change since the very start of the ‘Maatraththai Thaedi’ campaign. The change has started and the best efforts being sown by the Thoothukudi Police have started yielding positive results,” said Dr. Senthil Raj.


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Printable version | Jul 12, 2022 10:35:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/caste-group-remove-caste-flags-from-poles/article65572097.ece