A woman panchayat president in Tamil Nadu, belonging to Dalit community, was forced to sit on the floor during panchayat meetings, and barred from discharging her duties by her male subordinate belonging to the dominant caste.
Tamil Nadu police have registered a case against the vice-president of Therku Thittai panchayat in Cuddalore district, Mohanraj, for harassment of the Dalit woman panchayat president Rajeswari. The police have also arrested two people.
The district administration has suspended the panchayat secretary for not bringing to the notice of higher officials the discrimination meted out to the Dalit panchayat president. According to S Rajeshwari, she was forced to sit on the floor during the panchayat meetings by Mohanraj and was not allowed to hoist the National Flag during the Independence Day function.
The incident came to light after a photograph of S Rajeswari, president of Therku Thittaivillage under Mel Buvanagiri Panchayat Union, sitting on the floor at a meeting while others sat on chairs went viral on social media, prompting authorities to swing into action.
The alleged disgraceful event led to an outrage, with netizens condemning the incident. Many social media users expressed outrage and sought swift action to ensure justice.
One user said: "And no matter how much we try this kinda of inhuman things and behaviour still happen in society."
While another user said: "Another incident. A dalit woman made to sit in a floor. This country makes me feel sick. It's pathetic."
Here's what netizens had to say:
Though the incident happened in July this year, the district administration took action only recently after it was brought to its notice. The police have registered a case against Mohanraj under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
While police are on the lookout for Mohanraj, suspended panchayat secretary Sinduja and a ward member R Sugumar have been arrested, a senior police official told PTI, adding the latter has been held for offences including intimidation.
(Inputs from PTI)