TN officials seal temple after Dalits refused entry in Villupuram

A heavy police contingent is camping in the area to prevent any untoward incident.

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu revenue officials sealed the Dharmaraja Draupadi Amman temple in Melpathi village of Villupuram district on Wednesday.

The revenue officials took action as caste Hindus had barred entry to people belonging to the Adi Dravidar community. This led to a tense situation in the area.

The temple was sealed by the Villupuram Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), S. Ravichandran under Section 145(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in order to prevent any law and order situation from escalating.

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The temple is located on the government porambokku land and has been under the control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department for the past 45 years.

Local Dalits, who do not want to be named while speaking to IANS, said, “A section of the temple administration is equally responsible for us not being able to enter the temple. This section is hand in glove with upper caste people in barring our entry to the temple.”

The officials, however, said that eight rounds of discussions were held with the caste Hindus and Adi Dravidars and the situation remained the same. There were reports of Adi Dravidars forcefully entering the temple and the caste Hindu’s fully prepared to oppose them.

An official with the HR&CE department while speaking to IANS, said, “The situation was getting out of control and the caste Hindus have stated that the presiding deity was their ‘Kuladaivam‘. This would have resulted in more fights and hence the revenue officials intervened and shut down the temple.”

Criminal cases were registered at the Valavanur police station against people from both sides in the wake of a dispute during the entry to the temple.

The RDO has asked both sides to present their arguments before his office in Villupuram on Friday. The official also said that no members from both sides would be permitted inside the temple till the impasse ends.

A heavy police contingent is camping in the area to prevent any untoward incident.

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