Right denied for ages: Dalits enter ‘upper caste’ temple in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukottai with help of SP, collector

The prevalence of the two-tumbler system at a tea shop came to light during an inspection by Pudukottai Collector Kavitha Ramu at Vengaivayal on Tuesday, a day after human faeces were found floating in an overhead tank supplying drinking water to Adi Dravidar families.

Pudukkottai collector Kavitha Ramu and Superintendent of Police, Vandita Pandey, paved the way for Dalits to enter the village temple, a right which was denied to them for ages. They entered the temple in Vengaivayal village in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukottai district.

Officials also registered a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the members of the upper caste for practising casteism. Two arrests have been made in the case so far.

The collector and the SP visited the village after allegations emerged that human excreta was found in the water tank used by Dalits. Recently, three children in the village were hospitalised. A doctor advised them to check whether the water was contaminated.

Pudukkottai collector and SP at the temple where Dalits had been denied entry for ages.

The villagers were shocked to discover human excreta in the lone overhead tank supplying potable water to the village dominated by the Scheduled Caste (SC) community. Following this, District Collector Kavita Ramu set up a medical camp in the area and listened to the grievances of the people.

The villagers then informed the collector that they were not allowed inside the temple. The Collector called the people of the area and issued an order that the door of the temple should be opened immediately and everyone should be allowed darshan.

Adi Dravidar families had complained of being barred from entering the Sri Ayyanar temple in the village, for decades. Two including a woman have been booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. A WhatsApp number — 9443314417 — has been created for residents to inform any form of discrimination

She also promised that surveillance cameras will be installed in the area to prevent such disgraceful acts from happening in the future.

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