Tension after Dalit priests not included in church rituals

Tension prevailed at Tiruvadanai, about 70 km from here after some Dalit Christians reportedly indulged in violence, questioning non-inclusion of six Dalit priests in special rituals in a church in connection with its silver jubilee celebrations, police said.

Susai Manickam,priest of Oriyur Punitha Arulanandhar church said about 200 priests and nuns coming in a procession to the church were blocked by Dalit Christians who questioned the motive for suspending the six priests and said they would not allow celebrations unless the priests were included in the 'Tirupali' pooja and special prayers.

Police said they then indulged in violence, breaking festoons and street lights. Church officials decided to suspend the celebrations in order to hold talks with the Dalits as a tense situation prevailed and negotiations with them failed.

Meanwhile people in seven coastal hamlets in Rameswaram hoisted black flags in support of Dalit Christians and demanded that caste Christians allow Dalits to participate in the rituals.

They also hoisted black flags at the Paraloka matha church in the island in protest, police said.

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