The Dalits of Eachankottai village near here got haircuts in local saloons for the first time since Independence, following an agitation call given by the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF).
Earlier, the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front had called for a direct action programme on Monday at Eachankottai against the prevalence of the double glass system in the tea shops and denial of haircuts in the barbershops for Dalits.
Following this call, a peace meeting was organised at the Orathanadu Tashildar office on Saturday where members of the dominant castes refuted charges of discrimination in shops. The TNUEF said that during its investigation, the members identified prevalent discrimination against the Dalits.
After the meeting, revenue officials, led by R Banugopan, Tashildar and inspector of police Mahadevan, visited the village on Sunday.
In their presence tea was served in the tea shops to both the caste Hindus and the Dalits following which several Dalit youth were allowed to enter the local saloons for haircut.
Veeramuthu, one of the hairdressers told the visiting TNUEF members that for the first time in his several years of service, he provided service to a Dalit.
Rajmohan, a student in the village, said that for the first time the Dalits could avail of the services offered in the local saloons.
The officials advised the shopkeepers and the members of dominant caste that the practice of equality should be sustained.
TNUEF state secretary K Ganesh, president K Abimannan, district secretary Chinnai Pandian, CPM
District Secretary G Neelamegam and district secretary of the farmers association Sami Natarajan were among those present.