TAMIL NADU

Kandadevi car festival stage-managed: Dalits



Staff Reporter

"Only 25 Dalits were allowed to pull the car"

"Besides detaining 13 leading activists, police laid siege to several Dalit villages""Those who wanted to participate in the festival could not break the police cordon"

SIVAGANGA: The car festival of the Kandadevi Sri Swarnamurtheeshwarar Temple passed off peacefully on Sunday. Dalit organisations claimed it was "stage-managed."

V. Karunanidhi, president of the Federation of Dalit Liberation Organisations, said besides detaining 13 leading activists, police laid siege to several Dalit villages, including Malaiyittan Vayal, Semponmari, Ponni Vayal and Keela Semponmari. Dalits who wanted to participate in the festival could not break the cordon formed by armed policemen.

Mr. Karunanidhi, who was among those detained at the Amaravathi Puthur police station near Karaikudi, said as part of the well-orchestrated plan, police and the district administration allowed just 25 selected Dalits to pull the car. Another 10 were allowed to participate as visitors.

It was a clear violation of the direction given by the Madras High Court on the conduct of the festival. He alleged that caste Hindus assaulted three Dalits who were among those selected by police.

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