Several Government vehicles have also been burned, according to media reports.

South Tamil Nadu tense as communities clash over temple-entry rights for DalitsImage: Vehicles vandalized/
news Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 09:36

Tempers remained high between Dalits and caste Hindus in and around the Uthapuram village in Madurai in Tamil Nadu following arguments between communities over the rights of the Dalits to visit and pray at the Muthalammal temple.

Sankaralingam, a village local in Elumalai near Uthapuram told The News Minute, “At 6pm, in Athankaraipatti village, a group of caste Hindus from different communities hurled stones against a Scheduled Caste community group after pooja in the Muthalamman temple.”

He added that one jeep and several bikes were vandalized and burned. Several Government vehicles have also been burned, according to media reports. There are reports of minor injuries among the Dalits. Hundreds of police personnel have been deployed in those areas and the condition is now under control.

The 11-day festival at the Muthalamman temple which had begun on October 13 this year was stopped after three days by the district administration as caste Hindus objected to the entry of Dalits. A petition was moved in the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court by the Uthapuram Vellala Community President N Muthiah asking permission for the 11-day temple festival to go ahead. 

The Revenue Divisional Officer and Sub-Inspector of Uthapuram Village met both Dalits and caste Hindus separately on Tuesday evening in a bid to sort out issues. The caste Hindus agreed to allow Dalits to worship in the temple, making the district administration lift the prohibitory orders.

But trouble brewed on Wednesday again. Forty Dalits visited the temple but while offering prayers and putting garlands on the pipal tree were objected and one of the garlands was removed. It further led to quarrels between Dalits and caste Hindus. And later, more police personnel were deployed to keep the situation under control.

To read more about the Uthupuram’s history and the problems, clicks here.

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