Tamil Nadu police charged with not protecting Dalit rights

November 6th, 2008 - 1:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the district collector of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu and the state’s director general of police (DGP) after members of the Dalit community were threatened by upper caste Hindus and were barred from offering prayers at a temple.Media reports Oct 29 alleged that around 200 Dalits of 70 families in the Panthapuli village had to flee their homes as they were under serious threat from the upper caste Hindus. In desperation, they took refuge in a nearby hillock along with their children and cattle.

“Media reports further said Dalits of the area were forbidden from offering prayers at the Kannanullur Mariamman Temple in the village - which has been a bone of contention between the two communities for the last 10 years,” an official of the NHRC said.

“Despite an order passed by the sub-court of Sankarankovil to the village administrative officer and the police to make sure that Dalits are allowed inside the temple, the Dalits who went to the temple on Sep 23 were not allowed entry in the temple, as the priest, after getting the temple locked, had left the village with the keys,”

He said: “The commission has, therefore, after taking suo motu cognizance of the media reports and has issued a notice to the concerned district collector and the DGP of Tamil Nadu seeking their comments in the matter within four weeks.”

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