THOOTHUKUDI: A group of people claiming to belong to the Kattunayakkan tribe from Eral town panchayat submitted a petition to Collector Dr K Senthil Raj on Monday seeking steps to provide their wards community certificates and enable them to pursue higher education.
Led by Annai VGS Makkal Nala Arakattalai, the group attended the weekly grievance redressal meeting chaired by Dr Senthil Raj at the collectorate and said they have been residing in Eral for the last six decades.
"However, we have not been provided community certificates, forcing us to still earn a living as house help or doing menial services. Our children are also not able to pursue higher education. In this situation, we request the collector to consider our plight and immediately certify us as belonging to the Kattunayakkan tribe," they said.
Meanwhile, over a dozen people led by P Kaliyamoorthy from Manthithopu Narikuravar colony reached the collectorate and sought help from the officials to prevent some traders from encroaching on their patta lands and constructing a temple there. They alleged that after the officials recently asked the traders to remove a temple shed that was set up on the patta lands, the traders have been issuing death threats to the gypsies. They sought the district administration to settle the issue at the earliest.
During the grievance redressal meeting, another group of people hailing from Kayathar met the collector and urged him to order the civic body to document their patta lands in the village records. On behalf of the petitioners, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi IT wing secretary Sheik Ali said Minister Geetha Jeevan distributed 67 free pattas for the Muslim community back in 2007.
"We went ahead and built houses on the land parcels. However, the land allotment has still not been documented in the village land records. Their properties lack land records and official address, rendering us unable to apply for loans, or scholarships for our children," one of the petitioners said.
After staging a demonstration at the collectorate campus on Monday, Father Benjamin D'Souza of the Kritthava Vazhvurimai Iyakkam met media persons and claimed right-wing ideologists at high offices had triggered the violence between the Hindu Meiteis and Christians of the Naga, Kuki, Hmar and Zo tribes in the region, by recommending Scheduled Tribe status for Meiteis, who comprise a majority in the state.
"As many as 75 churches have been vandalised by the Hindu Meiteis, and over 100 people, including 80 tribals, have been killed. Among them, 33 were shot dead by the Indian Army," he alleged and urged Chief Minister MK Stalin to take steps to de-escalate the tension in Manipur.
In the meantime, Balamurugan, a resident of Pasuvanthanai, who had come to the collectorate for submitting a petition against the inspector of Pasuvanthanai police station for allegedly foisting a fake FIR and torturing him, poured kerosene on himself. Though police personnel rushed to his rescue, they could not find any water nearby, and by then, the kerosene had seeped into Balamurugan's eyes. He was later admitted to Thoothukudi medical college hospital with severe eye injuries.