Tiruchirapalli

Street performers cast their votes for first time in Karur

Members of domban community eagerly waiting for their turn to exercise thier franchise at Kunthanipalayam on the outskirts of Karur on Thursday.

Members of domban community eagerly waiting for their turn to exercise thier franchise at Kunthanipalayam on the outskirts of Karur on Thursday.  

It was a dream come true for members of ‘domban’ community, a nomadic tribe from north India, now temporarily settled in Nathamedu in Karur district.

They had no ration card, voter identity card and Aadhaar card until a few weeks ago. They had never voted since Independence. But, thanks to the timely action by the district election officials, they exercised their democratic right for the first time in their life at a booth at Kunthanipatti on the outskirts of Karur on Thursday.

As they earned their living as street performers (kazhai koothadigal), they were constantly on the move from place to place and season to season in search of livelihood, the officials found it difficult to distribute ration card and voter identify card to them.

When the issue was brought to the notice of Collector T. Anbalagan a few months ago, he had asked them to stay for at least six months in one place to consider their plea. They readily agreed to the idea and stayed put by erecting a tent at Nathamedu near Kunthanipatti. Since they fulfilled the condition, the officials initially distributed ration cards to 130 families and then the voter identity cards. More importantly, they were included as voters in the last summary revision of electoral rolls.

The enthusiastic nomads, including about 60 women, were among the early voters, who turned at the booth to cast votes. With happiness writ large on their faces, they waited patiently to register their votes on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

“It was exciting and a bit nervous as I never voted in my life. But I managed to press the button that I intended to,” said D. Kannan, 49, by showing his Elector’s Photo Identify Card.

“It is a proud moment for all of us. We feel voting has empowered us. No one can say hereafter that we are people without an address,” said R. Ganesh Kumar, 75, leader of the group.

Collector Anbalagan told The Hindu that ration card, EPIC and Aadhaar cards were the long felt demand of them. Since they fulfilled the basic requirement of staying in one place for six months, he had passed order to issue ration cards and others. They were now entitled to get all welfare benefits of the government, he said.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:21:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/street-performers-cast-their-votes-for-first-time-in-karur/article26879984.ece

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