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Politico threatens Irular tribals for taking shelter at temple

A group of Irulars from a settlement near Kancheepuram alleged they are being threatened by a DMK functionary for taking shelter in a temple nearby to escape rains and mosquitoes.

Published: 26th November 2021 06:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2021 06:49 AM   |  A+A-

Irular tribals preparing their meals at the waste segregation centre | Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A group of Irulars from a settlement near Kancheepuram alleged they are being threatened by a DMK functionary for taking shelter in a temple nearby to escape rains and mosquitoes. The politician allegedly threatened to burn and beat up the tribals if they didn’t stop spending nights at the temple.

About 12 individuals, including pregnant women and children, used to stay in makeshift tents at Pappankuzhi village in Sriperumbudur panchayat for the past ten years. After the rains flooded their tents, they moved to a municipal waste segregation centre. 

“The godown of the centre sheltered us from the rains but  not from the mosquitoes. This posed a risk as we have pregnant women and children among us. So we decided to go to a temple, about 500 metres away, to sleep every night,” said 23-year-old Balakrishnan, who lives with wife Kavitha and their three-month-old baby. 

Balakrishnan said one Loganathan, a local DMK functionary, has been demanding that they shift to somewhere else. “On Wednesday, he paid us a visit and said we shouldn’t sleep on the temple premises as the ‘place isn’t for us’. He said he would lock us up inside the godown and set it on fire if we didn’t obey his orders,” said Balakrishnan, who has lodged a complaint with the Sunguvarchatram police station. 

The tribals told TNIE that Loganathan had visited them twice earlier. Once with a machete to warn them and later with a few men, threatening to beat them up. While Loganathan was unavailable for comments, a senior DMK functionary from Kancheepuram said they have warned him and that he would not disturb the tribals again. The Sunguvarchatram police, however, is yet to register an FIR. Dr M Sudhakar, Superintendent of Police, Kancheepuram, told TNIE that an inquiry is underway.

Meanwhile, the tribals highlighted how homelessness is affecting them. “We have to defecate in the open and our men have to keep watch so others don’t misbehave with us,” says Vedhavalli. She said a small house with a roof and Aadhaar would go a long way in helping them. A revenue official from the collectorate said they have taken notice of the matter.



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