CPM leader Brinda Karat on Saturday decided to do a reality check at the village in Madurai where the wall of shame that divided Dalits and dominant communities was brought down in 2008.
Things seem to have got worse now. Dalits can't walk on the road meant for upper castes, they have a separate ration shop and a separate school for their children.
It wasn't easy for CPM leader Brinda Karat to walk into the village in Madurai. Police detained her for a few hours, but she finally made it, only to find out that the Dalit segregation has deepened further.
"The Tamil Nadu government has given legal sanction to untouchability through this Dalit segregation," said Brinda Karat.
Six months ago, the state government chose to open a separate ration shop for Dalits than acting tough against the dominant Pillai community. There's also a school and a road, meant strictly for Dalits only.
"When we go to the shop, even if our dress touches them they'd take a shower because we are untouchables," said a woman.
"It will be nice if our children could study with their children in schools," said a man.
"Villagers have reported about the ration shop issue. We will inform the collector for further action," said B Balasubramaniam, DIG, Madurai.
When it comes to vote bank politics in Tamil Nadu, the upper castes are well organised and Dalits are divided, that's one reason why successive state governments have encouraged segregation of Dalits than antagonising Dalits.