Casteism in TN: Dalit Panchayat President Made to Sit on Floor 

Rajeshwari Saravana Kumar from the Adi Dravida community, a Scheduled Caste, was elected to her post last year.

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India
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A file photo of Ambedkar’s statue. Image used for representation.
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An incident of caste prejudice from Tamil Nadu is sparking outrage on social media.

A panchayat secretary in the state’s Cuddalore district was suspended after a photo that went viral showed a woman panchayat president, who belongs to a lower caste, sitting on the floor during a meeting, while the rest are seen seated on chairs.

Rajeshwari Saravana Kumar, president of Therku Thittai Panchayat, belonging to the Adi Dravida community, a Scheduled Caste, was elected to her post last year.

Alleging caste discrimination and harassment from upper caste members, Kumar told NDTV:

“Because of my caste, the Vice President does not let me preside over meeting. He did not even let me hoist the flag. He made his father do it. Although I was cooperating with the upper castes all these months, it is going overboard now.”

The police have also booked a case against panchayat vice-president Mohan Raj, under Section 3 (1) (r) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Chandra Sekhar Sakhamuri, the District Collector, said that the matter was brought to the notice of the administration on 9 October and that a probe is being conducted.

The Hindu quoted Kumar as saying, “The panchayat meetings are convened only by the vice-president, who has been taking the stand that I am a woman and know nothing and should remain quiet. The situation has now reached a level where continued silence would only strengthen their attitude and hence I have decided to speak out,” she said.

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