Dalit Christian's body taken to neutral venue

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Villupuram, Mar 24 (UNI) The body of Tarasammal, a Dalit Christian and wife of Nanaprakasam, who died at Eraiyur in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu on March 22 was taken in a procession to 'Podu Pathai'(neutral venue) instead of 'Vanniyar Pathai' (Vanniyar route)for cremation today.

Police said the decision to take a separate route for the funeral procession was taken at a meeting held at RDO office yesterday.

Though separate vehicles were available for Dalit Christians(DC) and Vanniyar Christians(VC) in the 125-year-old 'Punitha Madha Jabamalai Church', the DCs used the vehicle meant for VCs without their permission while taking the body of Tarasammal in a procession to the cremation ground, police said, adding shops were closed in the area as a precautionary measure.

Villupuram Superintendent of Police Amalraj and Tiruvannamalai Superintendent of Police Balachandran were overseeing the security here and in Cuddalore district It may be recalled that Eraiyur had witnessed violent incidents on March 9 when Dalit Christians resorted to agitation for separate parish, following alleged discrimination at the hands of Vanniyar Christians, were attacked by the latter and their houses ransacked.

When police arrived at the scene and tried to disperse the mob, one group targeted the police, forcing them to open fire. Two people belonging to Vanniyar Christians died in the firing.

Tarasammal's son Mathew, who was behind the violence and incarcerated at Cuddalore prison was released on parole to attend his mother's funeral, police added.

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