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KARUR : IN a bid to end the impasse over entry into the Mariamman temple at Lingathuparai in Malaikovilur, the Karur RDO has directed Dalits and caste Hindus to first conduct the festival and then approach the court to decide on the ownership of the temple.

The revenue department has granted three days in the first week of August for the caste Hindus to celebrate the annual festival without any caste bias.

The Dalits, however, say they would seek legal recourse only if they are allowed to conduct the festival and reiterate their decision to embrace Islam, if temple rights are denied.

“Of the three days of festival, we just ask to spare one day to us to perform rituals,” said Vettrivel preisdent of the trust. Staking their claim to the temple, the Dalits point out that it was built using grant given by the State for Adi Dravidar community.

The village which has a sizeable mix of caste Hindus including Lankan resettlers. Around 82 families of Lankan settlers call the temple Sri Samathuva Mahasakthi Mariamman temple. Of them, 22 families belong to Dalit community, said Srikanth, a Sri Lankan settler and ward member in Nagampalli village panchayat. Denying discrimination, Srikanth claims they boycotted the festival conducted by the Dalits in May because they formed a trust without their knowledge.

Refuting the claim, Dalits say the temple cannot be called so since State granted aid under the Adi Dravidar welfare scheme. Further, they accuse the Lankan settlers of appeasing officials with the fact that there are scheduled caste people in their midst.