‘Wall of untouchability’ demolished near Salem - The New Indian Express

‘Wall of untouchability’ demolished near Salem

Published: 14th August 2011 03:11 AM

Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:21 PM

SALEM: The Salem Corporation and the Revenue Department officials on Saturday demolished a  wall at Gandhi Mahan street claimed  to be a caste wall separating the Arunthadhiar community and caste Hindus.The demolishing squad faced no resistance from the residents living on either sides of the wall but another high raised wall constructed by a private matriculation school in the same area turned into a bone of contention.

DYFI activists organised a protest on July 19 to demand among other things demolition of the wall claiming to be a wall of untouchability to keep off dalit community folks from entering the people of affluent class. However the residents living on both sides of the wall were more keen on the appalling sanitary conditions prevailing in the 42nd division of the Salem Corporation.

The cluster of houses where the dalits live had no basic amenities. Water logging during rainy days stagnates for weeks turning it into breeding ground for mosquitoes. Although DYFI’s protest kicked no major controversy, the officials conducted a spot study and convened a tripartite meeting on July 22. Chaired by the Salem RDO Prasanna Ramasamy the meeting was attended by the revenue, police, corporation officials, DYFI office bearers and office bearers of the Theendamai Ozhippu Munani. None of the residents of the either side of the wall attended the meeting. It was decided to conduct another survey and decide on the future course of action.

Meanwhile, the Corporation was asked to take measures to improve amenities.

It was established that the wall has been constructed partly on private lands (formerly owned by one Vaiyali Pillai who converted his farm into a housing plot) and partly on government land classified as lake poromobke.  As the wall is constructed adjacent to a drainage channel the Salem Corporation officials were also involved in the demolition panel.

RDO Prasanna Ramasamy said the demolition is being carried out because it is on government land and also to avoid problems in future.

While the so called untouchabilty wall was done away another wall in the area turned into a bone of contention. Activists and dalits vociferously demanded pattas for their land. They told the officials that a private matriculation school has constructed a high rise wall after usurping a few acres of  government lands. They wanted the lands to be seized and given to the dalits. Officials have begun another exercise to ascertain facts about the school wall and the land grab complaint.

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