MADURAI: Tension broke out in Keelaurappanur village near Tirumangalam on Wednesday evening as a rift between the Dalits and Caste Hindus over a temple festival led to a road blockade by the Dalits during when at least three police vehicles including that of the Superintendent of Police Vijayendra Bidari’s car were attacked.
At least five policemen suffered minor injuries in the stone pelting, sources said. According to police, stones were allegedly pelted by a section of Dalits protesting the decision by police and revenue officials to allow the caste Hindus dissolve the mulaipaari (sprouted grains kept in pots) in the village tank as part of the festival.
Trouble arose on Tuesday at the Vadakku Vaiselvi temple in the village, when the Dalits alleged that they were being discriminated by the Caste Hindus during the rituals and for worship inside the temple. As the issue could not be resolved through talks, officials stopped the festival on Tuesday itself and the temple was locked up.
On Wednesday, the Caste Hindus requested the police to allow them to dissolve the mulaipaari in the village tank. While Dalits refused to join the ritual, Caste Hindus were allowed to dissolve the pots in the tank on condition that they should not enter the temple or carry out a procession.
Police said the Dalits did not object initially but later protested. Even as the SP Bidari and other officials were pacifying the protesters, stones were allegedly pelted from inside the streets in the village.
Police resorted to mild force and brought the situation under control.
Four cases have been registered at the Tirumangalam Town police station and 12 Dalits have been detained.