NAGAPATTINAM, March 7, 2011
Discrimination against Dalits prevalent: study
P. V. Srividya
Caste discrimination practised against Dalits does not spare even
panchayat presidents, reveals a study conducted in select districts of
The study conducted by Evidence, a Madurai-based organisation, in 213
panchayats across 12 districts in the State has come up with its
findings on myriad forms of discrimination experienced by Dalits under
The survey was held in Madurai, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Sivagangai,
Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Salem, Namakkal, Cuddalore, Villupuram,
Coimbatore and Tirupur.
Forty-five panchayat presidents from nine districts have given
testimonies of discrimination, the survey reports. The discrimination
takes the form of demand for appointment of Caste Hindu writer,
refusal to cooperate with the panchayat president, obstructionist
tactics by the Caste Hindu Ward members and panchayat vice-president
to stall conduct of affairs and harassment of women panchayat
The 198-page report reveals an exhaustive account of various forms of
discrimination and how they assume universality under certain
categories. These include discrimination in temples, atrocities
against Dalit women and discrimination in processions, burial of the
dead and in offering services such as hair dressing and laundry to the
With a few exceptions, almost all villages witness such discrimination.
Discrimination in temples varies from restrictions on entry to bar on
touching the temple car rope and participation in festivities or
allowing processions to go through Dalit colonies.
According to the report, 104 villages out of the total villages
surveyed recorded the practice of two-tumbler system, revealing 49 per
cent prevalence. Among them, 14 out of 22 villages in Coimbatore, 14
out of 24 villages in Dindigul, 13 out of 21 in Salem, 13 out of 17
villages in Virudhunagar, 11 out of 17 villages in Thanjavur and seven
out of 13 villages in Madurai, recorded the practice.
In Nagapattinam, the study carried out in 16 villages in Vedaranyam
reveals the prevalence of two tumbler system in Kodiakkarai,
Vedananagar, Ayyakaranpulamirandamsethi, and Siriyankadu.
Of the categories, discrimination was negligible only in Government
Hospitals and PHCs.
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