'Ostracised' group in Tiruchy village knock collector's doors to end their stigma

According to the families hailing from the Most Backward Classes (MBC) community, the issue began in 2015 when a new idol was to be installed at the Kaliyamman temple in the village.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

TIRUCHY: Claiming that members of their own community have ostracised them following a dispute over installation of an idol almost a decade ago, four families comprising about 35 members in Vellalapatti of Musiri block in the district recently submitted a petition with the collectorate seeking the collector’s intervention.

Further alleging that they were forced to accept the condition of offering worship separately in a recent peace meeting, they sought the collector to facilitate their participation in the ongoing village temple festival. According to the families hailing from the Most Backward Classes (MBC) community, the issue began in 2015 when a new idol was to be installed at the Kaliyamman temple in the village.

A group led by S Palaniyappan (67) and his brothers came forward to instal an Amman idol but they claimed that they were stopped by M Rajalingam, an influential local, and his supporters whom they said then threw it away in public view. This incident sparked a row following which the families said they have been prevented from participating in festivals, family functions and funerals.

When enquired, Rajalingam, who is related to the “ostracised” families, said, “Ten years ago, the family members placed a stone idol inside the temple without the permission of the village temple committee. All of us know what they did was wrong, but we have not ostracised them.”

While revenue officials convened a peace meeting with the families and other parties concerned over the issue last Saturday, M Rasathi, one of them who claim to have been ostracised, said, “We were forced to sign in the peace meeting that we would worship separately and not participate in the Pongal celebrations of the temple festival.”

"Our demand now is to allow us to participate in the festival that will be held till Thursday in the presence of all villagers,” Rasathi added. The families also alleged that Rajalingam was demanding `2 lakh from them to end the discrimination.

On Monday, the families submitted the petition seeking the collector’s intervention in the matter. When enquired, VAO Sasikala said, "I don't know why they approached the collectorate. They had agreed to the peace meeting deal on Saturday. We will look into their petition once it is directed to us." Despite attempts, the collector was not available for comment.

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