Tuesday, Jan 07, 2003
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The Cuddalore CPI(M) secretary, S.Dhanasekaran, said here today that a party team led by him on Saturday visited several villages, particularly those around Vilakkapadi, and found that the Dalits lived in "perpetual fear".
The party would organise a picketing programme at Vriddhachalam on January 10 protesting against the two-tumbler system and other forms of discrimination and atrocities perpetrated on the Dalits, who were treated as "second class citizens".
The feedback from local residents revealed that the sorry state of affairs existed, particularly at Vilakkapadi, U.Adhanur, Siruvarappur, Peruvarappur, Ottimedu, Perundurai, Periakottumulai, Siriakottumulai, Devankudi and Sathapadi, he alleged.
Vilakkapadi in Kammapuram block was the native village of the Pattali Makkal Katchi MLA, representing Vriddhachalam, R.Govindasamy. Even in stalls at Vilakkapadi, where 50 Dalit families resided, tea was served to the Dalits in separate glasses, Mr. Dhanasekaran said. They were made to stand outside the stalls while drinking tea and asked to wash the glasses after drinking tea, he claimed.
The CPI(M) team shuddered at the "social injustices" perpetrated and "uncivilised restrictions" imposed on the Dalits in all these villages, despite tall claims made by the State Government, the district administration and the police.
The Dalits lived without house sites, supply of potable water, road facilities and health and hygiene was not maintained.
Even ration cards were not issued to them, he said.
The CPI (M) submitted memoranda to the NHRC, the Chief Minister, the Home Secretary, the DGP, the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police.
The party urged the State Government and the district administration to arrest persons who practised the two-glass system and other forms of untouchability, under the SC-ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.
Convening an all-party meeting to discuss the issue, reconstitution of anti-untouchability panels at all levels and streamlining the functions of the protection of civil rights wing of police by appointing efficient personnel were among the suggestions made by the party, he said.
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