Tamil Nadu

Road divides residents on community lines near Tiruvannamalai

To prevent tussle:  Personnel, led by Vellore D.I.G Z. Annie Vijaya, at the Veeralur village on Sunday.

To prevent tussle: Personnel, led by Vellore D.I.G Z. Annie Vijaya, at the Veeralur village on Sunday.

The usual silence in Veeralur, a sleepy village on the foothills of Jawadhu Hills near Tiruvannamalai town, was disturbed on Monday, by the sound of marching boots of a large contingent of police personnel, who were called in after residents were divided among themselves, on community lines, about allowing the dead from a marginalised community to be carried on the village’s main road to the graveyard.

Anger simmered among majority of the residents, including caste Hindus, since January 11 (Tuesday), when a person from Arundhathiyar caste died in their colony within the village.

The Arundhathiyars wanted to carry the body through the one-km-long main road instead of travelling through 1.5-km-long traditional route that is away from the village.

As their traditional route is in a bad shape due to heavy rain last year, Arundhathiyars sought the permission of police and revenue officials for using the main road. They were allowed to do so after holding a series of peace meetings with other residents.

The rest of the village remained quiet as they thought it was a one-time affair. Also, the residents gave their nod in an effort to get police permission for organising a bull race in the village during Pongal.

“Their (Arundhathiyars’) traditional route to carry the dead will be repaired. Until then, they can use the main road of the village for all purposes. Residents from other communities have also agreed to it,” R.K. Kavitha, Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Arani, told The Hindu.

On January 16, a Arundhathiyar woman from the village passed away at the Government District Headquarters Hospital in Tiruvannamalai town.

The Arundhathiyars decided to carry the dead again on the main road of the village. Police said this angered the other residents. The videos of one caste group, with a section of the other residents, allegedly damaging 13 vehicles, mostly two-wheelers and a few houses in the Arunthathiyar Colony on Sunday, went viral. Subsequently, 830 police personnel from Tiruvannamalai, Vellore and Ranipet, led by Z. Annie Vijaya, DIG (Vellore Range) was deployed in the village.

Accompanied by SPs, A. Pavan Kumar Reddy (Tiruvannamalai) and Dr. Deepa Satyan (Ranipet), Ms. Vijaya (DIG) and Ms. Kavitha (RDO) had a series of peace meetings with residents of all communities in the village on Monday to allow Arundhathiyars to carry the dead on the main road. A truce was reached on Monday.

Interestingly, this is the fifth such incident involving Arundhathiyars in the village, since May 2021.

Social fabric of the Veeralur village comprises Vanniyars, Chettiars, Yadavas, Muslims, Arundhathiyars and dalits with a population of 5,900 persons, of which 350 belong to the Arundhathiyar community.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 10:53:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/road-divides-residents-on-community-lines-near-tiruvannamalai/article38284348.ece