Dharmapuri Police arrested six persons including two women on Saturday for discrimination against Dalit people by serving them tea in separate glasses. A senior police officer said the arrests were following raids they have conducted in teashops.
Known as “double tumbler” system, teashops in several villages have been maintaining a practice of keeping separate tumblers for Dalit customers. D Chellakannu, leader of the Untouchability Eradication Front in Madurai said there are a lot of shops continue to maintain such inhuman practices. “There are shops where Dalit customers have to take separate tumblers kept for them and wash them after use. Another practice is giving disposable glasses to Dalits while non-Dalits will be served in silver tumblers,” he said.
A senior police officer said the arrests on Saturday were following a series of raids conducted in the area. Two persons G Sivalingam, 50, and Shanthi, 30 wife of Dharman were arrested in Pennagaram, a small town near Dharmapuri, about 300 kms away from Chennai. Subsequent raids conducted in other parts of the district nabbed four others, S Sidhayyan, 50, S Murugesan, 55, V Veerabadhran, 61 and C Devaki, 49.
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While untouchability is continue to be rampant in many parts of Tamil Nadu, villages in Madurai and Dharmapuri districts are notorious for such practices. “Since local politicians are in favour of non-Dalits, who are mostly OBCs, many complaints will go unheard or suppressed at the village level itself,” said the police officer.
by Arun Janardhanan