Dalits assert their right to take part in temple festival

Complain to Collector against 5 communities

Published - June 07, 2014 02:07 am IST - CUDDALORE:

Dalits of Aalai and Kuzhandhai Colonies on the way to the Collectorate onFriday to make a representation for their right to participate in a templefestival in Cuddalore.

Dalits of Aalai and Kuzhandhai Colonies on the way to the Collectorate onFriday to make a representation for their right to participate in a templefestival in Cuddalore.

Residents of two Dalit colonies at Karaiyeravittakuppam near Old Vandipalayam here have staked their claim to take part in the local temple festival scheduled June 17 to 21.

They allege that though they have been living at Aalai Colony and Kuzhandhai Colony for generations, some dominant communities have been preventing them from taking part in the Draupadi Amman Temple festival. Therefore, the residents, supported by Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi district secretary Thamaraiselvan, gave a representation to Collector R. Kirlosh Kumar on Friday, requesting permission for them to take part in the festival.

Mr. Thamaraiselvan told The Hindu that five communities — Vanniyar, Sengunthar, Pillai, Yadavar and Chettiar — had been claiming proprietorship to the temple.

In the invitation too, these communities proclaimed that the temple belonged to them. When the Dalits protested their claim last year, a peace committee meeting was held on May 26, 2013, by Cuddalore tashsildar Rajaraman. At that time, members of these communities told the official mediator that in 1939, a court ruling had said the temple belonged to these communities. The representatives promised to produce the copy of the verdict; but till now they had not done so, he said.

Mr. Thamaraiselvan said that even the representations given to the Collector and the Adi Dravida and Scheduled Tribe Welfare Officer by the Dalits for a clarification on the status of the temple had evoked any reply. This year too, these communities were organising the event, excluding the Dalits. Moreover, the Dalits felt they were neglected deliberately, or else the lack of transparency over the income of the temple would be exposed.

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