Kanagaraj married Jayapriya daughter of Kumaresan and Lakshmi, a noon meal worker, of Pullur village more than two years ago. They were asked to pay Rs 35,000 by the village headmen Ellappan and Nagesh. The couple were able to pay only Rs 5,000 and were ostracised.
Kanagaraj complained to the SP of the then integrated Vellore district and left with his wife for Chennai where he worked as call taxi driver. Years later, due to COVID-19 induced slowdown the couple wanted to go back and settle in the village. However, the village headmen issued an order not to let them into the village unless they pay the full amount.
“They also told me to seek pardon from the residents of nearly 100 houses and provide betel leaves to each house as a sign of repentance,” said Kanagaraj. Once again Kanagaraj complained to the police and the issue was taken up at the mass grievance redressal meet conducted in a marriage hall in Vaniyambadi on Wednesday. Meanwhile, his mother-in-law Lakshmi, a noon meal employee faced threats of termination following a local AIADMK Minister calling the police to settle it.
The issue took a serious turn at the grievance meet when AIADMK men arrived in a van as Kanagaraj, who was earlier with the AIADMK had switched allegiance recently to Naam Tamilar Katchi over the issue. Soon NTK cadre also arrived on the scene to support the couple. Sources revealed that “police were forced to ask Kanagaraj to give in writing that they would settle the issue and live amicably following which he and Jayapriya left for Pullur accompanied by both AIADMK and NTK cadre.
But, in a similar situation a month ago, the police arrested two village headmen in Vaniyambadi taluk for demanding Rs 40,000 from a couple. A local resident who witnessed the proceedings said that arrests were “because they belonged to the DMK.”