MADURAI: Not far from Uthapuram village in Madurai district, where caste Hindus raised a wall to keep off Schedule Caste people, lies Santhaiyur village, where too such a discriminatory practice has reared its ugly head.
Ironically, in this case, the “face-off” is between people of the Arundhadiyar community (a sub-caste within the SC community), and the Parayar community, another SC sub-caste. As many as 150 families belonging to the Arundhadiyar community in Santhaiyur village have alleged discrimination by the Parayar community, whom they accuse of erecting a dividing fence.
Around 40 persons belonging to the Arundhadiyar community met District Collector U Sagayam on Monday with a petition seeking to remove the fence.
According to the petitioners, 10 families belonging to the Parayar community had encroached upon poromboke lands belonging to the Peraiyur panchayat and erected the fence to prevent the Arundhadiyars from using an eight-feet wide public pathway there.
“We asked them repeatedly to remove the fence. A resolution to this effect was also passed at the panchayat meeting, but only in vain,” said Vellammal from the Arundhadiyar community, a resident of the village for the past 50 years.
“The members of the Parayar community erected the fence seven years ago. They try to attack us when we raise the demand and have even verbally abused girls from our community. The men patrol the pathway at night with weapons to ensure that we do not enter their street or remove the fence,” Vellammal alleged.
“For the past seven years, we have not been able to celebrate our Kaliamman Temple festival as the fencing prevents us from taking the goddess in procession,” said Gurusamy, president of Arundhadiyar Uravinmurai at Santhaiyur.
K Gurusamy, district secretary of ‘Arundhadiyar Viduthalai Iyakkam’, alleged that the tahsildar of Peraiyur did not taken any action, despite the matter having been brought to his notice.