VILLUPURAM: Is the abhorrent twin-tumbler system still being practised in the State? Based on the direction by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Villupuram district police officials are holding an inquiry with caste Hindus and Dalits following a complaint that a hotel in a village in the district was practising casteism by providing separate tumblers to Dalits and those from the intermediary castes.
According to the complaint, Hotel Sumathi run by Subramani (70) and Mahadevan alias ‘Sumathi’ Mahadevan at the remote Keel Edaiyalam village near Mailam follows the twin-tumbler system even now. It serves tea in glass tumblers for Dalits and steel tumblers for the caste Hindus. Also, Dalits are not permitted entry to the hotel and are served food only outside.
“Though we filed numerous petitions to the police and district administration, not even an inquiry was held,” said advocate Raj Kamal from the village.
Upset over the lack of action by authorities, the Dalit villagers filed a petition to the NCSC last month. The commission directed Villupuram district Superintendent of Police KS Narenthiran Nayar to conduct an inquiry and submit a detailed report on the issue within 30 days, failing which, the commission warned, it would summon the district police officials.
Based on directions from the Villupuram SP, Tindivanam DSP Silambarasan initiated an inquiry with members of both communities, including the tea shop owners and the petitioner, TP Selva Seeman (33), a VCK functionary and native of Keel Edaiyalam, on Friday.
Though the village has an almost equal population of caste Hindus and Dalits, the latter have allegedly been discriminated against for generations. Dalits were not allowed to wear footwear in front of caste Hindus and were not allowed to enter the village temple. While celebrating Aadi at the Amman Temple, caste Hindus would would ensure separate seating for Dalits at street plays.