MADURAI: A barbed fence that stood witness for nearly a decade to the animosity among villagers belonging to Dalit sub-sects — Parayar and Arunthathiyar communities — was removed under police supervision in Santhaiyur on Wednesday. The fence was allegedly erected on a poromboke land by the Parayars, who considered themselves to be superior to the Arunthathiyars to prevent members of the latter community from passing through the village.
“Members of the Arunthathiyar community had lodged a complaint about the fence at the Peraiyur Police Station on May 1. We took action to remove the fence on Wednesday,” Madurai Superintendent of Police Asra Garg said.
A press release issued by the Superintendent of Police’s office said that Arunthathiyars were forced to take a long detour to reach their temple after the construction of the fence.
“A team led by Peraiyur sub-division DSP Sakthivel and two Inspectors visited the village and removed the fence after holding talks with members of both communities,” the release said.
“The fence could not be removed earlier even though the village panchayat had passed a resolution to have it removed,” the press release added.
However, the police were able to resolve the decade-old caste dispute in a day through conciliation.
Arunthathiyar Viduthalai Iyakkam chief V Kumar, who was present when the fence was uprooted, thanked Madurai Collector U Sagayam and DSP for helping end the discrimination. On April 30, Kumar had led a 40-member delegation and submitted a plea to the collector urging him to remove the fence.
“Immediately, the collector called the tahsildar and asked him to undertake a field visit,” Kumar added.
On Tuesday, the tahsildar, along with officials of the Revenue Department, surveyed the land where the fence stood, said Kumar adding, “On Wednesday morning, the Tahsildar informed me that he will come around noon to remove the fence.” Sagayam said that “the survey revealed that the fence was erected on poromboke land after which I told tahsildar to remove it.”