A barbed wire fence put up on Government land dividing two different groups of Dalits for nearly a decade in Santhaiyur village near Peraiyur was removed by the Madurai Rural district police on Wednesday.
A section of people belonging to one of the Scheduled Castes had erected stone pillars and fenced the poromboke land for about 30 feet with barbed wires to "prevent the people of other group entering the land closer to their temple wearing footwear," the Madurai Superintendent of Police, Asra Garg, said.
The other group had recently sought to widen the narrow pathway so that they could use the road during the festival season.
"It was a problem for them when they carry fire pots (to fulfil their vow) during festival time," the Santhaiyur Panchayat president, T. Thangam, said.
"They wanted an additional two feet pathway. But, the other group refused to given in. In fact, they threatened that they would put up the fence on the entire area to construct another temple on the land," Ms. Thangam said. Later, it was found that the land belonged to the panchayat.
"Tension mounted as both sides were ready for a face off. We even passed a resolution for removing the fence to prevent any untoward incident," she said. The issue was referred to the Block Development Officer, the Tahsildar and the police.
"When it came to our notice, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Peraiyur), M. Sakthivel, held talks with representatives of both the groups. Except for a few, all of them were for removal of the fence. Today, we removed it in the presence of the Panchayat president," Mr. Garg said.
The SP said that any discrimination in the name of caste could not be allowed.
[Courtesy: The Hindu, May 3, 2012]