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Dalits from TN village to convert to Buddhism on Dec 6

October 18, 2010 10:59 IST
Hundreds of Dalits belonging to Chettipulam, a village near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu, are planning to embrace Buddhism on December 6, the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar.

In September 2009, the Communist Party of India-Marxist had alleged that the Dalits were not being allowed entry into the temple by the villagers. The party organised temple entry agitations twice -- on September 30 and October 14 of that year.

On the first occasion, the temple remained closed while the second agitation witnessed violence, lathicharge and police firing when the vehicles in which the Dalits, accompanied by the police and revenue officials, were proceeding to the temple, were attacked by a crowd.

Following the violence, the collector organised peace talks with members of all communities of the village and warned that any discrimination on the basis of caste would invite severe punishment. Subsequently, on October 27, 2009, the Dalits were led into the temple.

The Nagapattinam unit of the Republican Party of India-Gavai has now announced that the people of the village will embrace Buddhism on December 6, the death anniversary of Ambedkar. The RPI has said that the Dalits were not able to overcome the continuous attack on their dignity, which has forced them to decide on embracing Buddhism.

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