A total of 51 people from Masthanpatti’s Kabeer Nagar were picked up and later released by the city police after they refused to move from a land owned by the Madurai Corporation on Wednesday.

Three days ago, a couple of families in Kabeer Nagar had set up kutcha houses on the land as a sign of protest.

“In the 70s, the State government provided two cents of land each at subsided cost for several Government Hospital workers. With time, the population rose and a lot of houses became cramped. Since 2000, we have petitioned several authorities and politicians seeking allocation of additional land.

However, no authority has responded to our pleas,” said N. Bhuvaneswari, a long-time resident.

I. Pandhai, another protester, said that the group once staged a road roko on Sivaganga Road, fought with authorities at the Collectorate and even staged a dharna in the nearby cremation ground.

“If they do not give us land, we would rather stay in the graveyard,” she said.

Their husbands were arrested and let off. The two men were among the few who jumped into a dry well to affirm that they would continue to occupy the Corporation land.

T. Thangapandi, another resident, said, “We are from the Scheduled Caste community. We tirelessly work for the cleanliness of the city but Masthanpatti does not have covered drainages too.”

The residents hope that the authorities would respond to their plea of land allocation at the earliest. In the absence of any response, they have threatened to intensify their agitation.

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