Portion of controversial Uthapuram wall demolished

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Madurai, May 6 (UNI) In a sudden move, a part of the controversial ''brick wall'' allegedly separating Dalits residential colony from caste Hindus for nearly two decades at Uthapuram village in this district of Tamil Nadu, was demolished today.

Amid tight security, a portion of the wall was demolished this morning on the orders of the district administration and a temporary road was laid at the demolished portion to make the pathway.

A group of Dalits celebrated the demolition of the wall by bursting crackers.

District Collector S S Jawahar, who visited the spot told newspersons that a portion of the wall was demolished for creating a pathway, so that Dalits could get access to the areas of common use in the village.

Meanwhile, in an extraordinary step, the Hindus vacated their houses in Uthapuram village and took refuge in a nearby hill, as a mark of protest against the move to demolish the wall. The district administration is likely to hold talks with their later in the day to pacify and resettle them in the village.

About 1,300 policemen, including Swift Action Force (SAF) personnel were deployed in the village for bandobust duty.

Talking to UNI, Superintendent of Police T S Anbu said the situation was well under control.

The 12-feet high and 600-metre long wall was erected by the Hindus in 1989 to prevent Dalits from entering into the locality of upper caste people in view of frequent quarrel between the two communities.

The Hindus claimed that the wall was constructed after a mutual understanding reached between the two communities, following a bloody clash in 1989.

Yesterday, the Hindus returned 302 ration cards to the district administration stating that instead of staying in the village, they preferred to live in the hill as tribes.

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