Tamil Nadu

Report highlights caste bias against Dalit panchayat presidents

The Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) on Thursday released a report, highlighting bias against Dalit presidents of village panchayats and urged the State government to take steps to ensure their independent functioning.

The survey was done in 24 districts, covering 386 village panchayats. It was based on a questionnaire and was carried out by 400 trained volunteers. According to the survey, in 20 village panchayats, Dalit presidents were not allowed to hoist national flags. In 22 panchayats, they were not allowed to sit on chairs, while in 42 panchayats they were not allowed to have a name board, it said.

The survey pointed out that in 17 panchayats, women Dalit presidents were facing gender discrimination. Other issues highlighted include attacks/threats faced, disrespect, bias shown by Union Councillors and government officials, the report said, adding that Dalit presidents were not allowed to function independently. The report was released by K. Samuelraj, general secretary and Chellakannu, president, TNUEF and received by S.K. Mahendran, former MLA.

Addressing reporters, Mr. Samuelraj said the report would be submitted to the government. He urged the State government to take immediate measures to ensure that all Dalit presidents hoist the national flag on August 15.

He also criticised the inaction of the government over the alleged incident of Sudha. V, the panchayat president of Eduthavainatham village in Kallakurichi being blocked from hoisting the Tricolour at a school and seeking police protection.

In a separate statement, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) State secretary Senthil Arumugam expressed shock and disappointment over the incident and urged the district administration and police to ensure that Sudha hoists the flag at the school or at an alternative location. He also urged Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to initiate strong action against those acting against social justice.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 12:41:36 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/report-highlights-caste-bias-against-dalit-panchayat-presidents/article65757867.ece