Tamil Nadu - Madurai
Discrimination of Dalits in Palani taluk alleged
Mohamed Imranullah S.
Bench orders notice to Government, Collector and SP
"Dalits were asked to squat on the floor in the tea shops and not
permitted to use benches"
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday ordered notice to
the State government, Dindigul Collector, and Superintendent of Police
to reply to a public interest litigation petition filed by a labourer
alleging social boycott and discrimination of Dalits at Therkutheru
village in Palani Taluk.
K. Kaliyappan (34), a resident of the village, had filed the petition
through his counsel, R. Alagumani, alleging the prevalence of
double-tumbler system (disposal cups for Dalits and glass tumblers for
Caste Hindus) in three teashops and refusal to sell provisions to
Dalits in four grocery shops in the village.
The petitioner claimed that Dalits were asked to squat on the floor in
the tea shops and not permitted to use the benches. They were also not
permitted to enter three temples — Kaliyamman Temple, Durgai Amman
Temple and Muthusamy Temple — in the village, he alleged.
"This is a clear case of untouchability practised against the Dalits,"
the petitioner's affidavit read and stated that the Palani Taluk
police too did not allow them to inaugurate an association titled
Dalit Arts and Literature Association to fight for their rights.
The petitioner further claimed that the Caste Hindus had imposed a
social boycott of the Dalits only after being agitated by efforts
taken by the latter to form the association. The tea shop owners,
grocers and others were instructed to keep the Dalits away.
A representation was made in this regard to the Dindigul Revenue
Divisional Officer who conducted a peace committee meeting on November
19 and instructed the representatives of the Caste Hindus to sell
groceries and other goods to the Dalits.
"Thereafter, some police officials were posted in my village near the
petty and grocery shops. The shop owners sold goods to the Dalits only
in the presence of the policemen and not otherwise fearing they might
end up earning the wrath of the village elders," the petitioner said.
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