People's Democracy

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


No. 26

June 26, 2011




Dalits Enter Temple After 25 Years




THE dalit people’s struggle to assert their rights is continuing in Tamilnadu. It is a fact that there are in the state hundreds of temples which the Dalits could not enter for a long time. Among them is Vanniyakumarasamy temple at Kinathukadavu, Pollachi, in Coimbatore district. For the past 25 years, dalits were not allowed to offer prayers in the temple.


This temple is managed by the state government under the aegis of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department. The dalits kept petitioning for a long time for permission to offer prayers and worship. But all their attempts went in vain. Hence the decision by the leadership of Tamilnadu Untouchability Eradication Front and (TNUEF) and Adi Thamizhar Viduthalai Munnani (ATVM, which is also a part of the TNUEF) to enter the temple on June 12, 2011.


It was about three weeks ago that ATVM leaders submitted a memorandum to the district administration, seeking permission to enter the temple. It is notable that with the struggles growing in Coimbatore district since the inception of the TNUEF, the district administration has been constrained to allow the dalits entry into several temples.


On June 12, Ravi Kumar (convenor, ATVM and vice president of the TNUEF) and V Perumal (secretary, TNUEF) led the dalits into the temple. Though the police force was meant to facilitate the dalits’ entry into the temple, it in fact tried to stop them. In the end, it was agreed that dalits would go inside through an alternative path. They were thrilled to offer a special puja there.


After the successful entry, leaders addressed the press and thanked the district administration. But they said the struggle to eradicate untouchability would continue since many forms of untouchability are practised in the district. They also urged the new government to address the dalits’ problems of Dalits.


The recently held TNUEF state committee meeting has decided to take forward the struggle ahead. It has decided to draft a charter of demands regarding the SC/ST sub-plan in the month of June. To retrieve the panchami lands, the Front has decided to launch a movement in four districts. Various forms of agitation have been announced.


At the organisational level, it decided to complete the district level conferences by the end of December 2011.