Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dalit woman president seeks police protection

A dalit woman panchayat president in Theni has approached the DGP seeking protection from the vice-president and other subordinates, who belong to the dominant caste.
R. Selvi, 40, who has been admitted to the Theni GH, alleged that the panchayat members called her names, attacked her and humiliated her just because she sat on the president’s chair.
Other panchayat members, including vice-president Ganesan and fourth ward member Nattandurai, prevented her from performing her duties and abused her using the name of her caste, she alleged.
“My husband Rasaiah and I worked in a stone quarry. I won in the 2011 panchayat elections and took charge as Tirumalapuram panchayat president. The members were unhappy and told me that I should stay at home as I belong to a lower class and should hand over all the duties to them,” she said.
“However, I continued to work for the welfare of the people. I faced several problems and complained to the district administration,” she said.
Selvi said that officials conducted an inquiry just as an eyewash and told her to cope with the situation. “The members told me that they would pass resolutions and I should sit quietly in the office. They attacked me and warned me that I should not sit in the office chair,” she said.
A. Kathir, director of Evidence, a dalit rights NGO, said that he files at least 15 complaints on discrimination meted out dalits who work for panchayat administration every year.
Theni collector K. Palanisamy said that an FIR was registered based on Selvi’s complaint. “We heard that panchayat members attacked her. We will investigate her complaint and take necessary action,” he said.

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