A temple and a wall built on the road to a Dalit colony in Dharmapuri District six months ago was demolished by municipal authorities on Thursday. These structures were constructed on the road between Ambedkar Colony of the Dalits and Gandhi Nagar where caste-Hindus resided.
Officials said in September last year, M. Kanchana of Ambedkar Colony lodged a complaint with the Dharmapuri Municipality that caste-Hindus of Gandhi Nagar had constructed a wall 10 years ago to block the way to her colony, forcing the Dalits to take a circuitous route to their colony. While they continued to endure this, the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) began in 2009 a series of protests to have the wall removed. But, there was no solution.
A. Kumar, district convener of the TNUEF told that the organisation had held many agitations, including one on March 14 this year, to demand the demolition of the temple and the wall. It had also represented to District Collector and Superintendent of Police for action.
Ms. Kanchana submitted a petition to the municipality on September 13, last year, seeking demolition of the wall. Meanwhile, the residents of Gandhi Nagar constructed the temple on the road.
Officials said that after verifying the land records, they found that the temple and the wall were built to block the path. The wall and the temple were demolished on Thursday morning. This was carried out in three hours, in the face of protest from the residents of Gandhi Nagar, A. Gurusamy, Commissioner (in-charge) of Dharmapuri Municipality said. Police were posted at the spot to prevent violence.
When asked why the civic body took eight months since the submission of petition to demolish the wall, Mr. Gurusamy said two rounds of talks with residents of both colonies were held to find an amicable solution. When the municipality saw that those who built the temple and the wall were not willing to remove these, it decided to demolish the structures.