Dalit panchayat president fears for his life

P. Janagar alleges that he is a victim of caste discrimination.

A Dalit panchayat president of L. Kottanipatti village coming under T. Kallupatti panchayat union in Madurai district has alleged that he is a victim of caste discrimination. He has sought protection, fearing that he would be physically attacked anytime.

Fifty-year-old P. Janagar belongs to Arunthathiar (Dalit) community narrated his woes on Monday, that ever since he took charge as the president of the panchayat in October, 2011 he had been facing caste based discrimination from the panchayat clerk Murugeswari who belongs to a dominant intermediate caste had allegedly taken all the office records to her room so that not only does Mr. Jangar have no access to the records but also has to come at wait at her house to for anything on the panchayat.

When Mr.Jangar had asked her to hand over the respective records and other documents, cheques meant for panchayat president, the clerk had allegedly threatened him with dire consequences verbally abusing him by his caste name.

On 24-12 2011 even without conducting the panchayat meeting, she had fabricated records that a meeting was condcutred and had asked the president on 26-12-2011 to sign the papers, where it was much to his surprise mentioned that five houses under Indira Awaas Yojana were allotted for people known to her and had also mentioned that the council members had approved the proposal. When asked about this he was again abused by her husband Ganesan and by her.

The president then had complained to the Block Development Officer, who in turn following the controversy had cancelled the allotment of houses to L.Kottanipatti village and transferred it to a nearby panchayat.

Abusing her power as panchayat clerk, Murugeshwari is said to have misused the government funds to a direct pipe connection from the bore well pump meant for the overhead tank in the village to her residence at Gurusamypuram Colony. When the residents of the colony complaied to the district collector, he had directed the BDO and the president of the panchayat was asked to inquire into the matter. However when the president went to inspect, he was allegedly threatened by Ganesan and Murugeshwari.

The president also alleged that the clerk never attended monthly review meetings and in the month of March he had twice intimated her through post but she had refused to receive it and had send them back. Several complaints to the formal Collector went in vain as he never looked into the issue, said Jangar.

Taking into account all these previous incidences Mr.Jangar along with the help of human rights organisations and Dalit movements lodged a complaint at the T.Kallupatti police station and took the issue with the Superintendent of Police, V.Balakrishnan. Cases were filed by the police under sections 3(1) (X), 3(1) (VII) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 and 506(1) r/w of Indian Penal Code, against panchayat clerk and her husband.

Advocate Rajni, of People’s Union for Human Rights who had taken up the case said that it is a clear case of violation of the Indian Constitution where it is clearly mentioned that members of Scheduled Caste should not be discriminated on the basis of caste, moreover it is an attempt to prevent democracy trickle down to grassroots and government should provide adequate protection to him.

R. Selvam, district secretary, Adi Tamizhar Peravai said that the panchayat president is fearing for his life and feels that he would meet the fate of Melavalavu and Thalaiyuthu Dalit presidents who were attacked, the former was hacked to death. The Peravai would be oragnising a protest meeting in Madurai condemning this discrimination on September 10.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2020 12:38:13 AM |

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