TAMIL NADU

Plea to allow Dalits to take part in car festival

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: : Puthiya Thamizhagam president K. Krishnasamy has urged Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to ensure the participation of Dalits in the coming car festival of the Swarnamurtheeswarar temple at Kandadevi in Sivaganaga district on June 21.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Dr. Krishnasamy alleged that the Dalits were prevented from participating in the festival by a "particular caste," despite the High Court's directive to the Government to ensure their participation.

He said that in 2003 when the Collector tried to involve the Dalits in the festival, he was abused by the other castes. Last year also, a majority of the Dalits were not allowed to draw the car.

Only a few were permitted to go near the car, and even they were asked to move out when the procession started.

It was unfortunate that the Government was a mute spectator to the alleged discrimination of the Dalits by the other castes. He hoped that the situation would not continue this year.

The Puthiya Thamizhagam would form a 30-member community consisting of people from human rights organisation, the media and social justice movements.

The members would visit Kandadevi on the festival day to see that Dalits were allowed to draw the car along with others.

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