Wednesday, August 17, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Wall of Untouchability Demolished Near Salem

Tamil Nadu
Wall of Untouchability Demolished Near Salem
indianexpress Express News Service , The New Indian Express
Posted on Aug 14, 2011 at 03:11am IST

SALEM:� The Salem Corporation and the Revenue Department officials on
Saturday demolished a� wall at Gandhi Mahan street claimed� to be a
caste wall separating the Arunthadhiar community and caste Hindus.The
demolishing squad faced no resistance from the residents living on
either sides of the wall but another high raised wall constructed by a
private matriculation school in the same area turned into a bone of

DYFI activists organised a protest on July 19 to demand among other
things demolition of the wall claiming to be a wall of untouchability
to keep off dalit community folks from entering the people of affluent
class. However the residents living on both sides of the wall were
more keen on the appalling sanitary conditions prevailing in the 42nd
division of the Salem Corporation.

The cluster of houses where the dalits live had no basic amenities.
Water logging during rainy days stagnates for weeks turning it into
breeding ground for mosquitoes. Although DYFI's protest kicked no
major controversy, the officials conducted a spot study and convened a
tripartite meeting on July 22. Chaired by the Salem RDO Prasanna
Ramasamy the meeting was attended by the revenue, police, corporation
officials, DYFI office bearers and office bearers of the Theendamai
Ozhippu Munani. None of the residents of the either side of the wall
attended the meeting. It was decided to conduct another survey and
decide on the future course of action.

Meanwhile, the Corporation was asked to take measures to improve amenities.

It was established that the wall has been constructed partly on
private lands (formerly owned by one Vaiyali Pillai who converted his
farm into a housing plot) and partly on government land classified as
lake poromobke.� As the wall is constructed adjacent to a drainage
channel the Salem Corporation officials were also involved in the
demolition panel.

RDO Prasanna Ramasamy said the demolition is being carried out because
it is on government land and also to avoid problems in future.

While the so called untouchabilty wall was done away another wall in
the area turned into a bone of contention. Activists and dalits
vociferously demanded pattas for their land. They told the officials
that a private matriculation school has constructed a high rise wall
after usurping a few acres of� government lands. They wanted the lands
to be seized and given to the dalits. Officials have begun another
exercise to ascertain facts about the school wall and the land grab

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