Pudukottai Collector leads temple entry of Dalits in T.N. village, detects two-tumbler system at Vengaivayal

Adi Dravidar families had complained of being barred from entering the Sri Ayyanar temple in the village, for decades. Two including a woman have been booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. A WhatsApp number — 9443314417 — has been created for residents to inform any form of discrimination

Updated - December 28, 2022 12:36 pm IST

Published - December 27, 2022 11:40 pm IST - PUDUKOTTAI

Pudukottai Collector Kavitha Ramu (second left) interacts with a woman at Vengaivayal village in Pudukottai district on December 28, 2022 who complained of Dalits being prevented from entering the Sri Ayyanar Temple. The Collector was at the village to conduct an inquiry on the incident in which human faeces were found floating in a overhead water tank supplying water to the Adi Dravidar families.

Pudukottai Collector Kavitha Ramu (second left) interacts with a woman at Vengaivayal village in Pudukottai district on December 28, 2022 who complained of Dalits being prevented from entering the Sri Ayyanar Temple. The Collector was at the village to conduct an inquiry on the incident in which human faeces were found floating in a overhead water tank supplying water to the Adi Dravidar families. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The prevalence of the two-tumbler system at a tea shop came to light during an inspection by Pudukottai Collector Kavitha Ramu at Vengaivayal on Tuesday, a day after human faeces were found floating in an overhead tank supplying drinking water to Adi Dravidar families.

The Collector also led the Dalits into a temple that was allegedly out of bounds for them.

Accompanied by Superintendent of Police Vandita Pandey and officials, Ms. Kavitha Ramu spent nearly two hours at Vengaivayal in the Muthukadu panchayat interacting with the villagers.

She also inspected a medical camp organised in the wake of drinking water contamination. She directed officials to supply water to the Adi Dravidar families from a bigger overhead tank situated at the same village.

Panel constituted 

The Collector has constituted a committee of officials — including the Revenue Divisional Officer; the Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency; the Adi Dravidar Welfare Officer; and a police officer of the rank of a Deputy Superintendent — to conduct an inquiry to find out the person who had contaminated the drinking water supplied to the 31 Adi Dravidar families.

Collector Kavitha Ramu interacts with a villager at Vengaivayal on December 28, 2022. Also seen is Superintendent of Police Vandita Pandey.

Collector Kavitha Ramu interacts with a villager at Vengaivayal on December 28, 2022. Also seen is Superintendent of Police Vandita Pandey. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A police inquiry was also under way, led by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Pudukottai Town. The Vellanur police have booked a case under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Ms. Kavitha Ramu told The Hindu over the phone that the villagers did not suspect anyone in particular of having committed the crime.

The committee would also look into the infrastructure needs of the Adi Dravidar families, including their plea for a path to the burial ground.

Two-tumbler system

The villagers complained about the prevalence of the two-tumbler system in a tea shop. Ms. Kavitha Ramu said she found the complaint to be true as there were separate sets of tumblers at the shop.

She directed the officials to invoke the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the shop owner. The police have booked a case against shop-owner Mookaiya, belonging to an intermediate caste, and detained him.

Temple entry barred for decades

The Collector also took the Adi Dravidar families to the Sri Ayyanar temple after they complained that they were being allowed to worship the deity only from outside.

The police booked a case against Singammal, of an intermediate caste, after she allegedly abused the Dalits “while in a trance” when the Collector took them to the temple.

Helpline number created

The district administration has created a WhatsApp number (9443314417) for people to convey information on any form of discrimination, a release said.

The Collector warned of stern action against those indulging in any form of discrimination.

The Collector said she had asked Revenue Department officials to convene a peace meeting to ensure that everyone was allowed to worship in the temple.

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