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Police asked to file case on caste discrimination complaints

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 14 (IANS) The Kerala state SC/ST commission has directed the police to book a case under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities)Act 1989. The panel will also conduct a sitting on Monday following complaints of eight scheduled caste and scheduled tribe families.

The SC/ST families have lodged a complaint that they were prevented by some residents at Ranni-Pazavngadi gram panchayat in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala from constructing homes in the area in a land donated to them by a US citizen with roots in Ranni.

The families complained that some residents in Ranni stopped them from constructing their homes as they belonged to SC, ST communities.

The Kerala state SC/ST Commission Chairman, B.S. Mavoji, and his team visited Ranni Pazhavangadi gram panchayat on Friday.

Mavoji said that the commission understood the issues faced by the eight families. He said that every person has the right to live a life of dignity in a democratic country.

It may be noted that a person, Valliath Thomas Vargheese, 77, who is a citizen of the US had donated three cents of land to each of the eight families from his property.

The local people, all Christians had opposed Vargheese's decision to donate the land to the SC, ST families.

Vargheese told IANS said that he had picked the eight families who were living in rented accommodation with their children.

He said: "I picked these eight families from 65 applications received as they were all living in rented accommodation and did not have any land in their names. The local people opposed me to converting the area into a Dalit colony. They were shameless in speaking like this."

Thomas Vargheese was living in Ranni for the past few years and said that the Panchayat member of Congress party, Shirley George had openly told him that she would not allow Dalits to live in her area as long as she was a Panchayat member.

Shirley was not available for comments.