Madurai, Dec 31 (UNI) Police arrested more than 150 Dalits, including 60 women, when they attempted to ''occupy'' the Madurai District Collector's office, demanding retrieval of lands sold to Other Community (OC) people at Anna Bus Stand, here today.
Police sources said the then Tamil Nadu Adi Dravida Welfare Ministry had distributed about 9.5 acres of land at Theerthakadu in Vandiyur here to landless Dalits in two phases during 1979 and 1997. Some of the Dalit people had sold the land to OC people, on which the latter had constructed houses.
The issue was raked up by some Dalit organisations, led by Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), demanding that the Government should retrieve the land sold to OC people.
As part of their agitation, more than 150 Dalits took out a procession to the Collectorate to ''occupy'' it. However, police stopped them at Anna Bus Stand and asked them to disperse. Defying police order, some of the women, who brought stoves, attempted to cook food on the road, disrupting vehicular traffic.
Police swung into action and arrested the agitators. Tension prevailed in the area for a few minutes as some of the agitators entered into a wordy duel with the cops.