COIMBATORE: The only thing standing between the Dalits of Kaliappagoundanpudur near Anaimalai and the construction of their community hall is reportedly a handful of caste Hindus who are opposed to the plan. Even as the plan has been sanctioned and the fund allotted a year ago, a few caste Hindus have threatened them of murder if they were to begin the construction, claimed the Dalits.
Submitting a petition with Collector K Rajamani at the grievance redress programme on Monday, the members alleged that a caste-Hindu villager threatened the people of the Arunthathiyar community in the presence of Valparai MLA V Kashthuri Vasu and officials of the Revenue Department. This reportedly happened on November 2, when the officials visited to review the site selected for the hall.
“After 15 years of demanding a community hall, the government allotted funds of `55 lakh in 2018. A ten-cent piece of land was earmarked for the purpose. However, a few caste Hindus tried to keep the hall from being built,” said K S Nagaraj, a resident of the village.
To take matters to the next step, the Dalits decided to stage a demonstration by walking all the way to Minister S P Velumani’s house from Pollachi to submit a grievance petition. When this announcement was made public, Kashthuri Vasu and Revenue officials the site for a review. It was then that one among the group threatened of murder if the Dalits were to go ahead with the construction, Nagaraj recounted.
After that incident, the review was stopped and there has been no communication from the officials, he said, adding that the district administration should ensure the construction of the hall without any further delay.
Receiving the grievance petition, the Collector assured that he look into the matter soon.