At a time when Chief Minister M.K. Stalin is claiming that Tamil Nadu will become a trillion-dollar economy by 2030, caste conflict has again raised its ugly head in the southern state.
In a recent incident, upper caste Hindus at Kavalapetti panchayat in Dindigul district prevented the Dalit community from entering the Uchi Kaliamman temple after its renovation.
The Hindus, who were involved in the renovation of the temple, said the Dalits were prevented from entering the premises as they did not contribute to the restoration of the temple, which was in a dilapidated condition.
Sources told IANS that it was a group of upper caste Hindus who collected funds and renovated the temple, and conducted 'Kumbabishekam' (religious ritual) in March 2022, making it ready for worship.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) took up the cause of the Dalit community and held a 'Road Roko' protest demanding entry to the temple for people from all communities.
CPI District Secretary Manigandan told IANS, "We have conducted a peaceful protest march demanding allowing the people from the Dalit community into the temple. Everyone used to worship in the temple earlier and after renovating it, some people are not allowing the Dalits to worship there. We have met the District Collector and District Superintendent of Police and asked them to sort out the issue to prevent it from turning into a major problem."
The CPI leaders said the Dindigul district administration has called a meeting of all sections of people on May 18 to sort out the issues related to entry into the temple.
District Collector S. Visakan told IANS that he expects the issue will be sorted out soon after the meeting on May 18.
While the district administration is confident that the issue will be sorted out, the history of such incidents in southern Tamil Nadu is alarming and discrimination against the Dalits by the powerful OBC and upper caste Hindus has always been a major point of confrontation.