The act of the Madurai Corporation, which placed a name board ‘Aruthathiyar Street’ here recently, has reportedly hurt members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) community.
Arunthathiyars are said to be the most marginalised group among the SCs in State. Though around 2,000 Arunthathiyar community members residing on TB Road resisted the Corporation action from naming their pocket as ‘Arunthathiyar Street’, officials refused to heed their demand.
Officials placed the new name board as ‘Arunthathiyar Street’ two months ago as part of the initiative to beautify the Temple City by installing stainless steel sign boards for every street at a cost of `4 crore.
“Unable to withstand the insult, youths tried to remove the board the next day after it was installed. But the elders of the locality prevented them citing legal problems,” said Ramesh, a resident of the Street.
Around 2,000 Arunthathiyar community members along with 500 Muslims are residing in the area for many years now. Elders of Aruthathiyar community recalled that, “Forty years back, these areas used to be called as Ansari 7th West Cross Street. Later, it was named ‘Veerakaliamman Street’ referring to a small temple on the street.”
“It was not a stray case. In many parts of the city, streets are named with a caste tag, which is a violation of the Constitution, which bars caste symbols in public,” said T Dharmaraj, head of the Folklore Department, Madurai Kamaraj University.
Reacting to the issue, Corporation Commissioner R Nanthagopal clarified that, “Officials didn’t do it intentionally to humiliate members of Arunthathiyar community. The name has been given based on the reference in government gazette. If people raise objection, we will remove it,” he said.