For P Kamala, the petitioner, who waged a legal battle seeking entry of Dalits into the Pekkaman Karuppasamy temple at A Kokkulam village, Thirumangalam taluk of Madurai district, the rude behavior of dominant caste group at the village adds to her feeling of imminent threat.
P Muthaiya, resident of Checkanurani, who took part in the peace committee convened by officials in the middle of July over this temple entry issue, also became an intended target of the dominant group. A vendor of tea stall, which he frequents, was told not to give tea to him and moreover somebody has attempted to vacate his dwelling place through the house owner, he said.
Further, A Kannan of Kokkulam, said most of the Dalits at the village disliked Dalit priest Muthaiya in Pekkaman temple under dominant influence of the other caste group, and wanted to remove him from priestly duties.
As the Dalit priest could not be contacted, his brother Tulasi Raman, who made his presence felt in temple instead of priest on Friday, declined to comment, firmly asking to contact Kodi Sekar, one of the respondents to the petitioner Kamala, for any information. Citing these, Kannan said temple seems to be still under the control of the dominant group. He also felt the immediate need for a new ration shop at the Dalit hamlet in Kokkulam to avoid discrepancies.
However, M Vijayan, Asst Commissioner, HR&CE, Madurai, when contacted, told DT Next that Pekkaman Karuppasamy temple is actually listed as ‘minor institution’ in the registry, but particular caste group undertook ‘thirupanigal’ and managed local resources for electricity bills for temple. However, confusion arises as there’s a nomenclature deviation as the temple is actually recorded as ‘Karuppannaswamy Thirukovil’ by the HR&CE. “Hence, ‘thirupanigal’ would hereafter be taken care by the HRCE,” he said.