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Abused for not donating to village temple festival, allege 12 converts in Salem

Twelve persons belonging to seven families, who had converted to Christianity, attempted self-immolation at the Salem Collectorate on Thursday alleging that they were being harassed in their village for refusing to donate for the local temple festival.

Abused for not donating to village temple festival, allege 12 converts in Salem
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Villagers explaining their plight to a police officer at Salem collectorate (Photo: Nanda Gopalan)

Coimbatore

Police personnel present at the collectorate managed to stop their attempt. This is the second incident of immolation attempt over a similar issue at the Salem Collectorate in recent times. On February 27, Perumal (62) and his wife Mani (60) of Maniyakaranpalayam village in Thathapuram close to Edappadi in Salem district had attempted self-immolation making a similar allegation against fellow villagers. 

Those who made the attempt on Thursday were identified as Raman (28) the main complainant who works in a private hospital, his wife Sumathi (25), daughter Yudha (3) son Joyce (5) and his mother Palaniammal (60) and fellow villagers, P Palaniammal (55), M Palaniammal (57), Sasikala (14), Prashanth (22), Kesavan (23), Gowri (27) and Thayammal (53). The villagers belong to Thottapattiyaan Colony near Thoppur Railway station in Omalur Taluk. 

Raman told the media that seven families in their village had converted to Christianity around a decade ago. It is learnt that other residents of the village celebrated the Maariamman Temple festival last Thursday and Friday. 

“They asked each family to donate Rs 2,000 for the festival. We did not pay for it as we did not participate in the event. On Saturday afternoon, a section of the villagers, who were angry with us, disconnected the water supply lines to our houses, damaged tanks in front of our houses and dumped thorny bushes obstructing the path to our houses,” Raman claimed. 

The group said that though they had lodged a complaint with the police and revenue officials, no action has been taken so far. On Thursday, the group came to the Salem Collectorate with kerosene cans with an intention to commit self-immolation.

But, Raman evaded the police and doused himself with kerosene, triggering minor tension at the collectorate. The police hurriedly poured water over him. The villagers then submitted a petition to the officials, who assured to conduct a proper inquiry into their allegations.

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