Over 2,000 people have deserted a village enmasse protesting non-inclusion of representatives from their locality in a local temple trustee board.
The people belonging to 500 families residing in Ammapatti Theru locality of Melamangalam village in this district left their houses on Friday and moved to a nearby hillock along with their livestock and pitched tents, officials said.
The villagers, including women and children, have also threatened to surrender their ration cards if the dispute was not resolved.
According to officials, people of Ammapatti Theru and Keela Theru localities of the village are at loggerheads over the administration of the ancient Arulmigu Pattalamman Muthiah temple, whose annual festival is celeberated by people of both the localities. Ammapatti people had been demanding representation in the temple board.
As the board was reconstituted ahead of this year's festival, to be held from October 13, 'arbitrarily' by people of Keela Theru, the people of Ammapatti Theru decided to stay out of the village.
A meeting held by the Periyakulam Revenue Divisional Officer failed to resolve the dispute between the people of the two localities. Officials also went to the hillock and tried to pacify the leaders of Ammapatti Theru people, but they refused to relent.
Tension prevails in the village and strong police pickets had been posted, officals said.