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TN: Post agitation, Dalits make their way to temple

October 12, 2009 12:47 IST
The standoff over the issue of entry of Dalits into a temple in Chettipulam village near Porayar in Tamil Nadu has been resolved following peace talks held by the Nagapattinam district administration.

At the talks held on Saturday involving the villagers, leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, who spearheaded an agitation over the issue, and revenue officials, it was decided that the Dalits would be allowed to enter the temple on October 14, officials said on Monday.

On Sep 30, about 300 workers of the CPI-M led by Nagapattinam Member of Legislative Assembly Marimuthu organised a temple entry agitation at Chettipulam alleging that Dalits were not being allowed entry into the Kamakshi Amman Sametha Ekambareshwarar temple.

When they visited the village on September 30, the temple reportedly remained closed. The CPI-M staged a road blockade near the temple. All the 300 workers were arrested and later released. Anti-Untouchability Movement, Tamil Nadu, also joined the agitation.

Revenue and police officials sealed the temple to prevent law and order problems. Later, on Oct 1, hundreds of villagers resorted to forced entry into the temple breaking open the seal. Cases were registered against 15 persons in this regard.

To break the deadlock, Nagapattinam Revenue Divisional Officer Rajendran presided over the peace talks and conveyed to the villagers that any discrimination on the grounds of caste will attract severe punishment under various acts.

In the meeting, it was decided that on October 14, Dalits led by Marimuthu and Vedaranyam MLA Vedaratnam would enter the temple to offer their prayers.

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