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Panthapuli Dalits refuse to attend talks

Staff Reporter

They want Collector to visit them at the hillock

TIRUNELVELI: With the Dalits of Panthapuli deciding to extend their stay in the hillock until their “genuine demands” are met, stalemate continued on Wednesday even after the revenue officials camping at Sankarankovil assured the protesting villagers that their safety would be ensured and basic rights protected.

Alleging that they were not being allowed to enter the village temple and their houses were being stoned by caste Hindus, Dalits of this hamlet under Karivalamvanthanallur police station limits on the Tirunelveli–Rajapalayam Highway left their village with children and cattle to settle down in the nearby Kaarisaaththaan hillock on Tuesday.

Meeting called

Following this protest, District Collector G. Prakash asked his subordinates to convene a meeting at Sankarankovil taluk office on Wednesday to solve the problem amicably.

However, the Dalits refused to come to the taluk office, saying that either the District Revenue Officer or the Collector should go to the hillock for talks.

Rice provided

“Our party functionaries are providing rice and vegetables to the protesting residents of Panthapuli. The protest will continue until our genuine demands are met,” said S. Inbaraj, Tirunelveli west district joint secretary of Puthiya Thamizhagam.

The protestors, staying under a huge banyan tree in the hillock during night, prepare food in a huge vessel and have food together.

Unrelenting

Even after Tirunelveli Revenue Divisional Officer Mariappan and Sankarankovil tahsildar Thangadurai assured the Dalits that justice would be rendered to them at the proposed meeting, they refused to relent.

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