Fence row Sparks Tension at Auroville

Published: 29th June 2014 08:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th June 2014 08:42 AM   |  A+A-

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VILLUPURAM: Cases were registered on Saturday against a French national for allegedly attacking five women during an argument over a temple path near Auroville, and against 95 villagers, who blocked the Tindivanam-Puducherry road, demanding the arrest of the French national.

According to sources, over 500 families were residing in  Kottakarai village near Auroville in Vanur taluk. An Ilangkaliyamman temple is located near  the village. The villagers used to get to the village through a poramboke land. A week back, the Auroville management began a project in a land belonging to them, which is next to the temple. The villagers alleged that the management occupied and fenced the poramboke land, thereby blocking their path to the temple.

On Thursday evening, a few villagers removed the fence and cleared the path. Later, on Friday evening, some women, who had gone to the temple, spoke to the project manager Satprem Maini, who is a French national and an architect, about the fence. That led to an argument. The villagers alleged that Satprem abused the women and also hit them and pushed them out of the land. Following this, nearly 100 villagers went to Auroville police station on Friday night to lodge a complaint against Satprem.

“We gave a complaint and asked the police to register an FIR, but till midnight they didn’t. The inspector then informed us that they will file the FIR the next day. But when we came back to the station on Saturday morning, the officials delayed registering the case,” said Jayakumar, a villager from Kottakarai. Irked, the villagers blocked the Tindivanam-Puducherry bypass road and demanded to file a case and arrest the French national.

On information, Kottakuppam ADSP M S Nisha Shekar rushed to the spot and spoke to the villagers. She informed them that a meeting would be organised to broker peace and to solve the temple path issue. She also assured to take action against the French national after enquiry, following which, the villagers withdrew the protest.

However, police officials from Auroville denied the villagers’ allegation on the delay in registering the complaint and said they had registered the FIR on Friday night itself.

“The villagers protested as we refused to arrest the French national before enquiry,” police said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon Satprem lodged a police complaint against six villagers for removing the fence. Police filed a case against 95 villagers for blocking the road.

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