TN: Caste Hindus return to Uthapuram village

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Madurai, May 14: After eight days of an ordeal, the Caste Hindus of Uthapuram, who took refuge in Thalayuthu forest in Madurai district following the demolition of wall that divided the Dalits colony from that of the Caste Hindus, withdrew their agitation and returned to the village last night.

Following the assurances given during the second round of peace talks brokered by New Justice Party (NJP) founder-President A C Shanmugham, who hails from the same community, the Caste Hindus withdrew their agitation and returned to their home, ending their self-imposed exile.

Mr Shanmugham had assured a five-member-committee of the Caste Hindus that he would take up the issue with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and fulfil their 'five-charter of demands.' However, as a precautionary measure a large number of policemen were deployed in and around the village.

The Caste Hindus of Uthapuram village had moved to the forest in protest against the demolition of a portion of the wall on May six.

The 12-feet high and 600-metre long wall was erected by the Caste Hindus in 1989 to prevent the Dalits from entering their locality.

The Caste Hindus were demanding, among other things, a permanent police station in the village, houses for 32 Caste Hindu families, who were affected in the 1989 violence and withdrawal of cases against them.

Several rounds of talks held by the district administration had failed to reach any consensus.


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