On Monday, Dalit voters in Kuruvithurai village in Sholavandan constituency boycotted the voting process till afternoon asking for an additional polling booth in their locality. They said that an additional booth was required for them to vote without any problems from upper caste groups.
Voting only began when security was increased and officials promised to consider their requests.
According to The New Indian Express, Sholavandan constituency has about 600 caste Hindu families and 150 Dalit families. In January, a violent clash took place between the two groups, in which the Dalits suffered large losses in property.
On Monday morning, Dalits residing on Kaliamman Koil East Street and in Indira Colony started protesting for a separate polling booth. They gathered at the Kaliamman Temple and refused to cast their votes.
The Dalit voters blamed the officials for locating the booth in a community hall in a caste Hindu area.
A villager, M Moorthy, told TNIE, “We are already facing harassment from the caste-Hindus in various ways. Hence we requested the officials to set up a separate polling station for us in our locality as was the case during the civic elections. But now, the separate booth was made at a building in the caste Hindu area.”
Many of them feared being attacked when they went for voting in that area. They said the election officials were “indifferent” to their plight, and hence did not provide a separate polling booth.
Returning officer Indiravalli said that they were provided with more security while voting and were told that their request would be taken into consideration, after which most of them apparently cast their votes.