VILLUPURAM: Dalits in Kalapathur Colony near Ulundurpet have been seeking a pathway leading to the cemetery for decades since they had to carry the dead through farmlands owned by mostly caste Hindus. This had sparked off tension between the two castes.
Also, the Dalits members threatened to boycott the forthcoming Assembly elections if steps were not taken to establish the cemetery.
This issue again reared its ugly head on Tuesday when a Dalit family was carrying the body of an elderly man to the cemetery through a farmland. Since it was not cultivation time, the farm owners remained silent.
Nearly 350 Dalit families stay in Kalpathur Colony and they managed to get them a 1.5-acre land for a separate cemetery near the Pidagam River about five decades ago. But there was no approach road to the graveyard and the families had to trek through fields for over two kms with the bier.
It was said the farmland owners used to argue and quarrel with the Dalits only during the cultivation
The owners would demand those carrying the bier walk on the furrow, which was so narrow and threw the mourners out of balance.
The Dalits told Express that they had been submitting petitions to the Collector, MLAs, MPs and Ministers since the tenure of former Chief Minister C N Annadurai, but to no avail.