People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 41

October 19, 2008


Dalit Women Perform Last Rites

A group of dalit women performed the last rites of a 22-year-old woman at Uthapuram village near Madurai on October 8, 2008.

This is the village where the casteist elements built up a wall with the intention not to allow the dalit people into the village. Dalit people had to walk extra mile to have the access of the public facilities.

It was Tamilnadu Untouchability Eradication Front that took up the matter and organised the movement to bring down the wall. After the announcement that the CPI(M) general secretary, Prakash Karat would be visiting the village, the state government moved fast. A portion of the wall was brought down and a road to the village was laid.

Though a crack at the wall was made, many other demands of the dalits were not fulfilled. The Madurai Rural district committee of CPI(M) took up various development issues. AIDWA and DYFI also conducted various demonstrations urging the district administration to resolve the pending issues.

About a week ago, when a group painted the wall of the local Muthalamman temple in view of the ‘kumbabishekam’ scheduled on October 9 and 10, the dalits objected to that. There were some violent incidents.

Two days ago, the revenue divisional officer issued orders prohibiting the villagers from performing the ‘kumbabishekam.’ Fearing arrest, men had fled the village to undisclosed destinations, police said. A dalit woman, who was ailing from tuberculosis, died on October 7th night. According to villagers, since the men had fled, a group of women performed the last rites.