VELLORE: An ‘untouchability wall’ erected by some sections of the caste Hindu community in Thaaniyur and Kondakuppam panchayats in Walajapet Taluk more than a year back has caused much grief and inconvenience to the Arunthathiyar community.
Founder president of the Arunthathi Makkal Katchi Valasai, E Ravichandran addressing the media on Sunday said, “The ‘untouchability wall’ has been constructed in the pretext of raising the compound wall of government-aided schools.”
Nearly 30 Arunthathiyar families are living in Thaaniyur panchayat. They had constructed makeshift bathrooms and cowsheds adjoining their houses in watercourse poramboke. “But a section of the Hindu community demolished them and constructed the 10-foot-high wall that stretches for 500 metres. They also threaten the Arunthathiyars with dire consequences, if they protest,” he charged.
The wall prevents Arunthathiyar community from accessing the main road. In addition, the community has been without a proper burial ground for more than 13 years. Officials have been ignoring several petitions from the community .
“We have submitted a number of petitions to the authorities and Collector (R Nanthagopal), but in vain. If they fail to act soon, we will raze the ‘untouchability wall’ on our own. The officials will be held responsible for the outcome,” said Ravichandran. He also criticised the MPs, MLAs and the Collector for failing to provide basic amenities for the Aruthanthiyar community .
The Arunthathiyar community is continuing to experience discrimination in other districts as well. An ‘untouchability wall’ constructed by the Hindus in Sathirampudur village in Kondakuppam panchayat causes similar grievance against the community. Arunthathiyars living in Molagarampatti in Tirupattur, Karadikuppam and Jambukulam (Sholinghur block), Idayankadu and Sethuvalai villages do not have proper burial grounds and lack basic infrastructure facilities.
“For decades we have been burying the dead in the water course in the poramboke area,” said Bhadhavachalam (60), a resident of Karadikuppam village. Also, violence against the Dalits and the Arunththaiyar community in Dharmapuri is on the rise after Anbumani Ramadoss was elected as MP,” he said.
He added that the government acquired 1.90 acres of land in Keelminnal village in 1990 to distribute free house pattas to around 70 Arunthaiyar families living in Puttuthakku under welfare schemes of Adi Dravidar Welfare Department. However, the revenue department did not conduct surveys to sub-divide the land. “Hindus are threatening the beneficiaries of the scheme,” he said.