After two long decades of struggle, members of the Dalit community from Monjanur in Tiruchengode taluk on Monday got a permanent pathway to their crematorium in the village — a point of contention between the Dalit and Caste Hindu community that had threatened to snowball into a clash.
The district administration recently acquired some private land for the pathway and the land was levelled on Monday, under the watchful eyes of a huge posse of police personnel. Subsequently, the Dalits were allowed to take out a funeral procession along the new pathway.
“A stretch measuring 11 cents (survey no 94/1A, 94/2A 1) belonging to A Sengodan and his son S Saravanan was acquired under the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Harijan Welfare Schemes Act,” the tahsildar attached to the land acquisition wing of the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department, P Thirugnanam, said.
The officials also deposited `21,940 as compensation to the land owners with the sub-court in Thiruchengode. The long-drawn issue has been the bone of contention among members of the Dalit and Caste Hindu communities in the area. VCK district secretary M P Kumanan said it “was a perennial issue lasting for more than 20 years.” Tension prevailed, on several occasions, between the communities, especially when the Dalits attempted to take out funeral processions along the stretch, given that the path they took fell on land belonging to two Caste Hindus, Ramasamy and Palanivel. Recently, the land owners approached the High Court, which passed orders in their favour, Kumanan said. Several rounds of negotiations aimed at easing the standoff failed since the land owners refused to part with their property for the pathway.
In June last year, the simmering tension threatened to snowball into a clash when the Dalits tried to take a body of a woman through the disputed path. But, police and revenue officials managed to rein in the situation.