"I am both a Dalit and a woman. Other than that, I became a panchayat president to lead people from varied backgrounds, including those from dominant castes. How could I have escaped harassment? Casteist slurs were hurled at me, for merely doing my duty."P Supputhayi, President, Vadugapatti town Panchayat
In a recent report by Madurai-based NGO Evidence, which focuses on the rights and welfare of Dalits and Adivasis in Tamil Nadu, as many as 114 Dalit panchayat presidents recounted their stories of severe discrimination, threats, and harassment. Out of the 114 panchayat presidents who were surveyed, 79 of them were women.