Dalits of seven villages in Tirupur district are not allowed to worship at a Mariyamman temple

Dalits not allowed in a Tirupur temple TN govt claims loss of sanctity in 2010Image for representation
news Caste Friday, March 18, 2016 - 09:30

Under the HR&CE (Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments) Department, Dalits of seven villages in Tirupur district are not allowed to worship at a Mariyamman temple, which was built by the area’s caste Hindus because the old temple, ‘lost its sanctity’ when Dalits entered it in 2010.

The old Mariamman Temple in Utthamapalayam, near Vellakoil, was built in 1964.

The New Indian Express reports that caste Hindus then formed the ‘Mariamman Kovil Trust’ and built a new temple in the village. When Dalits tried to take part in the consecration ceremony of the new temple, caste Hindus attacked them for entering it. Following this, the Dharapuram Revenue Divisional Officer ordered its closure.

The trust was later renamed as ‘Pudhu Mariamman Koil Trust’ in view of questions about the legality of a trust in the name of the existing temple under the HR&CE Department. There are no Dalits in the 11-member trust.

The attackers were booked under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the district administration paid compensations to 149 Dalits. However, only one person was given Rs 1 lakh and the others were given amounts as low as Rs 12,500.

Dalits from the villages of Uthamapalayam, Velampalayam, Thasavanaickenpatty, Naganaickenpatty, Thenkalipalayam, Kaattupalayam and Thalakkarai got the right to enter the old temple only decades after it was built and are now continuing their legal battle to enter the new temple.

A case about the ownership of the temple is currently pending in the Dharapuram Sub-court. The next hearing is scheduled to be held on June 3, 2016.

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