VILLUPURAM: Fifteen days after the clash between Vanniyars and Dalits in Seshasamudram village, the district police officials on Sunday claimed that the situation in the village is completely under control, even as Dalit and Vanniyars say they continue to live in fear.
According to a senior policeman, as soon as the police were informed about the clash on August 15, around 120 police personnel, headed by the Villupuram SP, rushed to the village, which has been in the papers for the last few years over the caste dispute. By the morning of August 16, as many as 500 policemen were deployed and the situation was brought under control, the senior police official. However, Dalits have asked the district administration to construct a separate ration shop, school and other basic amenities for them as Vanniyars were denying them access to the facilities.
It may be recalled that Rathika (30), a Dalit woman from Seshasamudram village, had said everybody in the village got along well with one another until a politician poisoned their minds and turned erstwhile friends into enemies to achieve his personal political gain.
According to her, the Dalits built a Muthumariamman temple and consecrated it with the Vanniyars in 2009.
Earlier, both the communities performed special pujas during the Aadi month and distributed porridge to the devotees.
However, in 2012, when Subramani, the DMDK cadre from the Vanniyar community, had the Dalits build a car for the Muthumariamman temple and conduct a procession, to which he contributed `1 lakh on the eve of the panchayat poll.
He won with a huge margin as both communities supported him. Subramani, who prodded the Dalits to build the car and take the procession, then said they couldn’t do so as the Vanniyars were opposed to the Dalits carrying the procession on the common road.
It may be noted here that on January 7, 2014, Express carried a report about 300 Hindu Dalits of the Seshasamudram Colony embraced Buddhism as they were tired of being discriminated against by caste Hindus for the past two years.
The Dalits had petitioned the then Collector V Sampath, who had requested them to withdraw the decision on the conversion.
They said after the intervention of the DMDK village president, communal discrimination started in the village. This made the villagers file 40 petitions from 2012 to 2015.Based on their petitions, the district administration had arranged 15 rounds of peace talks on the car procession.