The Caste Hindus of the Uthapuram village, especially the pillaimars, not satisfied with the dismantling of the portion of the wall (called as wall of untouchability), they had erected for their protection from the pallar community (dalits) who have been residing at the other side of the wall, vacated their houses enmasse and have camped at the hilly areas nearby, braving extreme heat, dry wind, unsafe conditions, threat from the jackals roaming in the area.Young children meanwhile have been afflicted with chicken pox, loose motion etc and they even turned down the medical help extended by the Government.
The Uthapuram wall incident has led to the sharp polarization of two major groups, the backward classes and the dalits in the southern districts.All the caste Hindu outfits and associations have unanimously extended moral support to the 1300-Uthapuram pillaimars who have moved away to the Thalaiyuthu hills in protest against the caste wall incident.Almost all backward caste Hindu associations (pillaimars, mukkulathors, naidus,mutharayars,reddiars) have come together under one umbrella.
Backward classes social federation to back the protestors and have planned a token fast at the highly caste-sensitive Usilampatti on Sunday to urge the government to yield to the demands of the Utahpuram pillaimars.
Their demands are: 1)They seek from the Government to issue patta for eight cents of land for their temples
2)To set up a police station in the village in return for making a passageway for the dalits.(They argue that in order to protect themselves from the onslaughts of Dalits, the wall was built.Since the wall was partly dismantled they seek protection by the establishment of a police station)
The self-imposed exile continuing for the fourth day, the district administration miserably failed to sensitise the protestors and solve the issue amicably. Instead caste feelings have been precipitated. In fact the Madurai Collector instead of holding talks is actually shunning them.
Members of all caste outfits have visited the hills where pillaimars camped and expressed their solidarity.
At the same time, the Dalits in these villages are living in mortal fear of retribution and are actually apprehensive that the caste violence that gripped the southern districts between 1996 and 1999 may again return.
Timely intervention and precautionary steps of the Tamil Nadu Government is required without giving any semblance of chance to the communal leaders of caste hindus to sharpen their focus upon the hapless dalits that may lead to any communal violence.