Dalits, caste Hindus clash over temple car procession in Thanjai

Verbal duel snowballs into fisticuffs after dominant community members refuse to pass through Dalit settlement; political parties protest police lathi-charge

Published: 16th August 2016 07:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th August 2016 07:15 AM   |  A+A-

TIRUVARUR:Tension prevailed at Sannapuram village near Kumbakonam after caste-Hindu and Dalit residents clashed over the route a temple car procession had to follow, on Sunday night, leaving nine persons injured.

According to sources, the car of Vada Badrakaliamman Temple at Sannapuram near Kumbakonam was taken out in procession by caste Hindus of the village. However, during the procession, the caste Hindu devotees allegedly refused to take the car through Dalit settlement.

When a few Dalit representatives learnt that the procession would not be passing through their settlement, a few youth approached the priest and questioned the decision. Quoting a last year peace talk settlement, which allowed passage of temple car procession through their area, the Dalit youth questioned Sunday’s decision.

Even as the discussions were on, a group of caste Hindu men allegedly roughed up the Dalit youth. The incident soon snowballed into a clash, during which the caste Hindu people allegedly assaulted three Dailt youth with sharp weapons.

On information, the revenue officials, including the Tashildar of Tiruvidaimarudur, rushed to the spot and the car procession was stopped. The revenue officials, with the help of police, seized the car.  Meanwhile, the injured Dalit youth — Anbalagan, Mariappan and Vasanth were admitted to government  Kumbakonam hospital, while Cheran and Ilavazhagan were treated as out-patients. 

On Monday morning, the Dalits of Sannapuram allegedly assaulted a caste Hindu youth in a retaliatory strike. On information, police officials, led Pandi, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tiruvidaimarudur, reportedly resorted to a mild lathi-charge on Dalits, sources said.

After the news of purported lathi-charge spread, cadre of VCK and others parties staged a blockade on Tirunageswaram-Tiruvidaimarudur road, demanding action against Tiruvidaimarudur DSP. Later, the protesters dispersed. Three youth who were injured in the alleged police lathi-charge were referred to Kumbakonam Government hospital.

When contacted J Mahesh, Superintendent of Police, Thanjavur, told Express that the festival was suspended by revenue authorities on Sunday night, following clash between two communities. On Monday, a person from one of the communities was attacked by the members of other group. As they did not disperse even after the warning by police, the personnel chased them away, the SP said. He denied the claims of lathi-charge by the police.

“A few persons were detained and based on the findings of the inquiry, action would be taken,” he added.

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