Useless Panachayat Raj : caste virus 005TN2007


As many as 17 Dalit panchayat presidents in Madurai district admit that caste-based discrimination, including the `two-tumbler’ system, still exists in their villages.

A few of them even allege that the vice-presidents, mostly caste Hindus, occupy chairs at official meetings while they sit on the floor as “mute spectators”. The presidents have signed a statement attesting to this fact to a non-governmental organisation that surveyed villages in Madurai .

In the Keeripatti reserved panchayat, where elections could not be held for a decade following stiff resistance from caste Hindus, the newly elected panchayat president, M. Balusamy, admits to the prevalence of caste discrimination. “The two-tumbler system still prevails in our village. Even a small boy, belonging to the dominant community, calls a senior Dalit by his name. In the nearby Poothipuram reserved panchayat, the president sits on the floor while the others occupy chairs and conduct official proceedings, ” Mr. Balusamy told The Hindu on Sunday.

The study conducted by Evidence, a Madurai-based Human Rights Organisation, revealed that “untouchability” prevailed in one form or the other in 70 per cent of the 83 reserved village panchayats in the district. Answering a printed questionnaire, the panchayat presidents acknowledge that at least 25 forms of “untouchability” exist in their villages.

The team found that doctors and para-medical staff in some primary health centres “refused to touch Dalit patients.” The team collected statements and signatures of more than a 100 Dalits in the reserved panchayats.

State-wide study
“A similar situation prevails in the neighbouring Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar districts. This is a State-wide study on untouchability practices in the reserved panchayats. Even years after the panchayats were allotted Dalits, nothing much has changed,” said A. Kathir, Executive Director of Evidence.
The other forms of “untouchability” include restrictions on Dalits entering local temples, community halls and main streets. “We have sent our preliminary report to the National Commission for SC/ST and the State Human Rights Commission. Our team members saw many panchayat presidents washing teacups meant for Dalits after using them,” he said. 

Source: The Hindu

One Response to “Useless Panachayat Raj : caste virus 005TN2007”

  1. 1 bhuvana

    i would like to contact mr .A.Kathir

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