Fact Finding Report on the murder on 22nd November, 2006, of Jaggaiyan, Panchayat President of Nakkalamuthanpatti Village Panchayat, Kuruvikulam Panchayat Union, Tirunelveli District
(Press Release of 28th December 2006)
Dalit Panchayat President Slain thirty days after Local Government Election for resisting caste slavery
Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Presidents of Panchayat Goverment conducted a Fact Finding investigation into the murder of Jaggaiyan – Dalit Panchayat President, belonging to the Arunthathiyar Community (Sub-Caste among Dalits), Nakkalamuthanpatti Panchayat, Kuruvikulam Panchayat Union, Tirunelveli District on 22.11.2006.
Information from NGOs and newspaper reports revealed that Mr.Jaggaiyan, a Dalit and newly elected Village Panchayat President, aged around 42 years, Nakkalamuthanpatti Panchayat, Thirunelveli Dt, was murdered by Thirupathi Raja, Present Vice President of the same panchayat, and his wife Regina Mary, the former Panchayat President belonging to the Kama Naidu Caste (Naickers). It is alleged Thirupathi Raja had set up Jaggaiyan as a benami president and had wanted him to work in cooperation and subordination to him. Since he had refused to co-operate and listen to the orders of Thirupathi and his wife they wanted him to resign from his post. When he refused to resign, he was threatened several times and murdered early morning at 5.30 am in front of the tea shop in the village by the same two persons.
The Fact finding Team conducted its investigation between 27th November and 1st December 2006. It was headed by Ms.Amudha, Executive Committee Member of the Federation and included representatives from the State Executive committee of Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Presidents of Panchayat Government (TNFWPPG), and NGO leaders. The following is the composition of the Fact Finding Team:
1. Ms. L. Amudha, Ex President, Echampoondy Panchayat, Cuddalore Dt.,
2. Ms. Vasantha, President, Madalakottai Panchayat, Tanjore Dt.,
3. Mr. Anna Lakshmi, Co-ordinator, Law Trust, Nagai
4. Ms. Krishnaveni, Organiser, Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Presidents of Panchayat Government
5. Mr. Madhusudhanan, Co-ordinator, Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation.
6. Mr. M. Vasudevan & Mr. Shanmuganathan, Co-ordinators, SIRD, Madurai
Persons from who Evidences were collected during the fact finding mission
1. Ms. Arumugam alias Papa, W/o. Jaggaiyan
2. Mr. Srinivasan, Brother of Jaggaiyan
3. Mr. Murthi, Panchayat worker
4. Kanagaraj, S/o. Jaggaiyan
5. Madathiammal, Jaggaiyan Brother’s Wife
6. Mr. Bharathan, Director, Manitha Urimai Kalam
7. Jamuna, D/o.Jaggaiyan
8. Ms. Mary, Ward Member ( Parapatti Panchayat)
Government officials from whom the team met and spoke to
1. Mr. V.K. Deepu – Inspector of Police, Thiruvengadam
2. Mr. Balakrishnan – D.S.P., Sankaran Kovil
3. Mr. Muppidari – PA to District Collector (Panchayat)
4. Ms. Anbazhagan – PA to District Collector (Revenue)
5. Mr. Chandran – Assistant Adi Dravidar Welfare Office
6. Dr. Sheeba – Government doctor who performed the Post Mortem
II. Some facts about Nakkalamuthanpatti Village Panchayat
Nakkalamuthanpatti Panchayat consists of 3 wards namely, Narasimapuram (Naidus), Paraputti (pallars) and Nakkalamuthanpatti (Arunthathiyars & Yadavas). There are 2 members from each ward. The list of ward members as elected in the October 2006 elections are:
1. Thirupathi Raja (S/o.Ramasamy Naicker) – Naicker (Kama Naidu)
2. A. Marichamy (S/o Alagirisami) – Naicker
3. Seeniammal (W/o Marichamy, – Yadavar
4. Soundraraj – Naicker
(S/o Manigrami Chinnachamy)
5. Mary W/o Paul raj – Pallar
6. Madasamy – Pallar
Elections in Tamil Nadu to all local government bodies– panchayat, municipalities and municipal corporations- were held on 13th and 15th October 2006. Results were announced on 18th October 2006. Jaggaiyan won 354 votes and defeated 3 other candidates. This panchayat was reserved for scheduled castes and so the previous panchayat president Regina Mary, a Naicker by caste, was unable to contest.
Persons who contested for the Post of President
1. Jaggaiyan – Arunthathiyar Sub-Caste (S.C)
2. Selvaraj – Pallar (S.C.)
3. Subbiah – Pallar (S.C.)
4. Jaganathan – Arunthathiyar (S.C.)
In Nakkalamuthanpatti ward Kama Naidus comprised 150 families (Telugu Speaking), Yadavas comprised 35 families, Kulalars comprised 6 families, Dhobis comprised 10 families (only for naickers) and Arunthathiyars, 13 families. Parapatti ward comprises of 80 families who are only Pallars (Dalits). In Narasimapuram ward, Naickers constituted 15 families, Maruthuvar, 1 family and others, 10 families.
There are totally 900 votes in this panchayat out of which 651 votes were polled. From among the 4 persons who contested. Jaggaiyan (Arunthathiyar) polled 354 votes, Jaganathan (Arunthathiyar) 241 votes, Selvaraj, (Pallar) 37 votes and 7 votes were polled by Subbiah (Pallar). 20 votes were declared invalid.
The post of village panchayat president was earlier held by Sreenirajan (Naicker) between 1996–2001, and Regina Mary (Naicker) in 2001-2005.
Arunthathiyars are essentially agricultural labourers. Naickers (Kama Naidus) are the land owners. Pallars own some pieces of land. In the Panchayat, Naickers are the dominating class and caste force. Regina Mary W/o.Thirupati Raja was the Panchayat President last time. Since this time the Panchayat was declared as a reserved Panchayat, the naickers, divided into two groups, decided to support candidates only from the Arunthathiyar Sub-Caste group. Thirupathi Raja backed by one section of the Naickers, selected and supported Jaggaiyan for President’s Post. Sources say that Jaggaiyan at this point agreed to function according to the dictates of Thirupathi Raja. The relationship was smooth until the election was complete.
Another group of Naickers, that are against Thirupathi Raja, told Jaggaiyan not to obey Thirupathi Raja and had in fact independently put up another candidate, Jeganathan (Arunthathiyar) for the post of panchayat president from the same small sub-caste of Dalits. He polled 241 votes. The Pallars (Dalits) fielded two candidates but polled only 37 and 7 votes respectively.
III. Sequence of events leading to the murder of Jaggaiyan
On 25.10.2006, Jaggaiyan and 6 ward members took oath. The selection of Vice President took place in the next meeting. At this juncture Jaggaiyan preferred not to follow the dictates of Thirupathi Raja. Instead he asked for the last five years Accounts details to be submitted by Regina Mary W/o.Thirupathi Raja and former Village Panchayat President.
Thirupathi Raja was furious over this as he claimed to have been responsible for Jaggaiyan’s election. In the next gram sabha meeting Thirupathi Raja passed resolution seeking Jaggaiyan’s resignation from his president’s post. He insisted that Jaggaiyan sign the resolution but Jaggaiyan refused. This angered Thirupathi Raja and in the night Thirupathi Raj is said to have gone to Jaggaiyan’s house with his wife and Sethuraja and threatened to kill him, if he doesn’t resign. Earlier Jaggaiyan was asked to sign cheque leaves for Rs.70,000 by Thirupathi Raja. When he questioned the purpose of this money he was told that it was meant to recover the expenses for his election; Jaggaiyan refused to sign the cheques.
Fearing threat to their lives, Jaggaiyan and his family went to his wife Arumugam’s house situated in a nearby village and after a day returned to his own home. By this time Thirupathi Raja, Regina Mary and two other of the dominant caste gang had threatened Jaggaiyan with death if he continued to refuse to obey.
On 22.11.06 morning, around 6.00 a.m, Jaggaiyan proceeded to the tea shop to drink tea followed by his brother Srinivasan, wife Arumugam and son, Kanagaraj. After stopping in front of the Panchayat Office, Jaggaiyan is said to have proceeded further on cycle to the tea shop. Hardly had he gone about 100 meters when Thirupathi Raja and Regina Mary caught Jaggaiyan and hit him on his head with a wooden log. Srinivasan is said to have seen this attack and ran in the direction of Jaggaiyan. He had seen him being repeatedly hit on his head and the side by his ears. When he reached there, Thirupathi Raja and Regina Mary had left. Wife Arumugam and son Kanagaraj, also eyewitnesses to this murder, also ran to save him but when they reached they found him with severe head injuries in a pool of blood.
Murthy, a panchayat worker who is incharge of street lights in the panchayat, who was also around the body at around 6.00 am and informed Jaggaiyan’s other relatives. Police were informed around 8.00 am. Then Jaggaiyan’s wife was taken to the police station & dictated a complaint pointing out that Thirupathi Raj & Regina Mary were responsible for her husband’s murder.
Police took the dead body to the hospital for Post Mortem. At 5.pm they handed over the body to his family. The police and CPI (M) party people were there with Jaggaiyan’s family, till the end of the cremation. After police investigation Thirupathi Raja and Regina Mary were arrested and booked under IPC sections 341, 302, Sec3 (1) (X) and Sec3 (2)(V) of SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and are currently in judicial custody.
Earlier on the 19th it is said that Jaggaiyan wrote out a complaint about the threat to his life by Thirupathi Raja and his wife Regina Mary addressed to the Sub-Inspector, Thiruvengadam Police Station and DSP. While he was on his way to file the complaint he was stopped by an ex-serviceman Mr. Alagumuthupandi of Kovilpatti (Naidu) and brought to the Naicker village; he then spoke about the threat to his life by Thirupathi Raja and the ex-serviceeman promised all support.
Everyone present questioned about the reasons for the threat of killing Jaggaiyan. This person then warned the village people not to do any harm to him or face the consequences. In this bargain Jaggaiyan returned some without filing the complaint. The following is a copy of the complaint.
Complaint From Jaggaiyan
South Colony, Nakkalamuthanpatti,
Sippiparai Post, Thiruvengadam Police Circle
I am living in the above address with my family. I belong to the Arunthathiyar Community (Sakkiliyar). I am elected as Nakkalamuthanpatti Panchayat President in the recently held Local Body Election. In the Panchayat, Thirupathi Raj Naicker S/o. Ramasamy Naicker who belongs to our village is elected as Vice President.
Thirupathi Raj Naicker on 13.11.06 at around 2.PM in the afternoon at our Panchyat Office threatened me by saying “You simply sign as President I will take care of all other matters”. When I refused for that, he said in vengeance.
“You cannot live in this village. I cannot be a Vice President under an Arunthathiyar person. If I kill you I will become President”. My wife Pappa who was with me during that time shouted at Thirupathi Raja and sent him away.
Then, on 16.11.06 night at around 1 P.M. Thirupathi Raja with 2 more persons were standing in front of my house. Sedhuraja S/o. Alagarsamy knocked at my house door. My wife awakened me and said “You don’t go out, I will go”. When she opened and asked what is the matter, Thirupathi Raj Naicker threatened “You ask your husband to resign otherwise his life will be in danger”.
They went off when my wife shouted. I told about this incident to some persons in the village. They said, “wait, we will enquire and warn Thirupathi Raja”. So I didn’t give any complaint to any one.
Yesterday (18.11.06) at midnight 12.P.M. Thirupathi Raj Naicker and Sedhuraj S/o Alagarsamy knocked my house door, awakened me and threatened. “You are not listening to what I am saying your life is in danger, (death is awaiting you), If you did not resign from the President’s Post within 2 days your family will be destroyed.
Today 19.11.06 morning around 7a.m. When I am in my house, Thirupathi Raj Naicker’s wife Regina Mary came to my house and threatened.
“Yes, resign immediately, If you complaint about my self or my husband, I will complaint and put you in jail saying you teased me and touched my hand”.
So, you should take necessary steps on above persons and give appropriate protection to me and my family.
Copy to action:-
1. District Collector, Tirunelveli
2. District Superintendendant Police, Tirunelveli
3. Minister of Local body, Chennai
IV. Evidence from the Village and Eye Witnesses
Arumugam alias Pappa, wife of victim P. Jaggaiyan, Nakkalamuthanpatti panchayat:
I am living in Nakkalanmutthan patti, with my husband and family. I am working as a labourer. We belong to Sakkiliyan Community. My husband contested in the Panchayat election held last month. He won in the election. Thirupathi Raja s/o Ramasamy Naicker who belongs to our Panchayat contested and was elected as Vice President. Thirupathi Raja belongs to Naicker Community. Regina Mary W/o. Thirupathi Raja was Panchayat President last time.
Since for this election (October 2006) our panchayat is reserved for Scheduled Castes. Thirupathi Raja nominated my husband and spent a large sum of money. His purpose was to rule the panchayat using my husband as he expected my husband to obey him. Thirupathi Raja’s wife Regina Mary was Panchayat President for the past 5 years (2001-2006). On the occasion of taking oath as President, selection of Vice President (Thirupathi Raja), Gram Sabha meeting was conducted by Thirupathi Raja.
As is normal any new president will ask for the previous terms accounts. To avoid these questions and to function as a benami, Thirupathi Raja nominated my husband and spent for his election. When my husband asked to hand over the accounts the problem between them started. He had a terrible hatred for dalits. Thirupathi Raja use to say “When I am seated on the chair you (my husband) are also sitting on the chair as an equal which I detest’.
In the Gram sabha meeting Thirupathi Raja passed a resolution that my husband should resign from the post and persuaded him to sign their resolution. Jaggaiyan, my husband refused. For one week he continued to harass my husband. Thirupathi Raja with his friend Sedhuraja came to our house twice in the night and threatened us with death. Once I locked my husband in one room and told them that he is not in the house. Fearing for our lives we went to our relative’s house in Velayudhapuram. We came back to my house the next day. My husband wrote a complaint about Thirupathi Raja but he didn’t give it to the police.
After election was over. Thirupathi compelled my husband, to obey him. On 18.11.06 morning 9 A.M when I, my husband, Paramasivan S/o Perumal were talking in front of Panchayat Office, Thirupathi Raja and Regina Mary came and threatened my husband, “You sakkiliya, you have to run the panchayat according to my wish. If not we will beat and kill you. Nobody will support you”. We became frightened. Again on 20.11.06 evening 6 P.M when I and my husband were in our house. Thirupathi Raja and Regina Mary came and said “don’t ask about last term’s accounts, we will give you (Rs.10,000) Ten thousand Rupees”. We didn’t accept that. Today on 22.11.06 Morning around 6.30 am I, my husband, my husband’s brother Srinivasan and Murthy S/o Perumal were talking in front of the Panchayat Office. My husband went on a bicycle to Chippiparai to drink tea. When my husband was going on his way, Vice President Thirupathi with a wooden log in his hand and his wife Regina Mary came and stopped him and said “you are not listening to our words”. Saying this, Thirupathi beat my husband again and again with the wooden log on my husband’s head. Blood came from my husband’s head, both from the right and left side. My husband tried to protect himself from the wooden log with his left hand but Thirupathi continued beating him brutally. Again he beat my husband on the left side of his head and he fell down saying “I am dead”.
When we shouted in shock, Thirupathi and Regina Mary saw us and threatened “If you go against us this will happen to you all”. Then they dropped the wooden log and went west side. When we went and saw my husband, he was dead.
Paramasivam, S/o.Perumal came there after hearing about the incident. I went with him to Thiruvengadam Police Station and gave a complaint to Inspector, to take necessary actions for my husband’s death. During Post Mortem Sub-Inspector of Sankaran Koil interrogated me.
At 5.30 pm they handed over my husband’s body to me after Post Mortem. During his burial ceremony no naicker people came. I remember that besides myself, police, my mother in law, Srinivasan, were present. Police helped us. I was not given a copy of the Post Mortem report. In my complaint I named Thirupathi Raja, Regina Mary and Sedhuraja as the three responsible for the murder of my husband. But police didn’t take Sedhuraja’s name. Since I do not know to write, what I said, the police wrote. They also did not give me an FIR Copy. My village people all supported us. I received Rupees 1,50,000 from the collector’s office. The collector informed me that I will get the remaining 50,000 after the case was over.
Srinivasan (Brother of Jaggaiyan):
My brother Jaggaiyan is a friendly person. Earlier before he became president, he was working in Panchayat office as overhead tank operator. During Regina Mary’s term as Panchayat President he and Thirupathi Raja had a cordial relationship. Thirupathi Raja wants to rule us and use us and the panchayat contracts to earn money. Though he was friendly with us, he has strong caste feelings. He hated my brother sitting in a chair equal to him.
Jaggaiyan was elected as Panchayat President, and the previous time Regina Mary was elected, her husband looked after all the work despite Regina Mary being the president. He wanted to do the same this time also. So he instructed Jaggan to obey all his orders.
On 18.11.06 around 9 am near Panchayat Office my brother Jaggan, his wife Arumugam alias Pappa, Paramasivan were all talking. Thirupathi Raja, his wife Regina Mary came and asked and threatened “Sakali Fellow. Do what I say, If not you will be killed with two blows”. This was conveyed to me with sadness.
On 20.11.06, I came to know that Thirupathi Raja and his wife Regina Mary came to Jaggan’s house and asked to take 10000/- in order not to raise questions regarding last term accounts.
On 22.11.06 around 6.30, near Panchayat Office, I, my brother Jaggan, Jaggan’s wife Pappa were talking. My brother Jaggan went to drink tea in Chipiparai on a bicycle. At that time Thirupathi Raja and his wife Regina Mary stopped Jaggan and said “you won’t listen to us” and started beating him ruthlessly with a wooden log. They beat him on the left and the right side, and I found him bleeding profusely from his head. Jaggan tried to stop the blows with his left hand and got injured. Then Thirupathi slashed his left ear by using a wooden log and Jaggan fell down on the ground. Thirupathi gave another blow below his leg. Thirupathi and Regina Mary turned on us and said if you are against us you will also meet the same fate.
Murthy (Relative of Jaggaiyan):
I am residing at Nakkalamuthanpatti South colony with my family. I am an agricultural labour, belonging to Sakalian Community (Arunthathiyar). Jaggan who belonged to our street won the Panchayat President’s post in the election. Thirupathi Raja alias Thirupathi S/o Ramawamy Naicker won the Vice President’s post. In the previous term, Thirupathi Raja’s wife Regina Mary was the Panchayat President. Vice President Thirupathi Raja insisted President Jaggan should follow his word.
On 18.11.06 around 9 am Jaggan, his wife Arumugam alias Pappa, my brother, Sitherampatti Village Headman Paramasivam and I were talking in front of the Panchayat office. Thirupathi Raja and his wife Regina Mary came and abused and threatened Jaggan using foul language and ordered that he should follow his instructions in running the Panchayat, if not “we will kill you and no one will support you”.
Again on 20.11.06, I came to know that around 6’0 clock in the evening, Thirupathi Raja and his wife Regina Mary came to our street and threatened Jaggan and his wife Arumugam offering them cash of Rs.10000/- as bribe for not asking questions about old accounts but Arumugam refused. She feared that her husband’s life is in threat from the Vice President.
On 22.11.06, approximately at 6.30 am, President Jaggaiyan, his wife Arumugam, Jaggan’s brother Srinivansan and myself were all standing in front of the Panchayat Office. After talking for a while Jaggan went on his cycle to drink tea in Chippiparai. As soon as he had gone about 100 meters I saw Jaggaiyan being beaten by Thirupathi Raja and his wife Regina Mary who had suddenly appeared with a wooden log. They came and stopped Jaggan and immediately started hitting him with the the wooden log. The left side and the right side of Jaggan’s head was badly injured. Jaggan tried to stop the blows with his left hand. Thirupathi hit him with his wooden log again and smashed the left ear and, Jaggan bleeding from his left ear fell down on the ground, Thirupathi again hit him on his head. They fled throwing the wooden log. By this time Jaggan was dead. At the same time my brother Paramasivam and Jaggan’s wife Arumugam came to the spot. They then went to give complaint at Thiruvengadam Police Station.
1. The Fact Finding team concludes that after examining all evidence before it that the murder of Jaggaiyan, Panchayat President of Nakkalamuthanpatti Panchayat, was committed by Thirupathi Raja and Regina Mary at around 6.00 a.m in the most brutal fashion.
2. The Police under directions from their superior officers have taken all steps to charge sheet the accused under IPC SectionS 341, 302, Sec 3 (1) (X) and Sec3(2)(V) of SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) 1989. The charge sheet has been filed and the evidence statement in the presence of the Judicial Magistrate Court, Sivagiri was recorded on 28.12.2006.
3. After the Constitution 73rd Amendment, this is the 3rd Election for Panchayats in Tamil Nadu. The previous elections were held in 1996 and 2001. In 2001 the Government did not pass orders for rotation of reserved seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Women. Accordingly there was some measure of consolidation of independents and identification of elected Panchayat Members from among the dalits and women with DMK Government opting to put on rotation the reserved seats. The dominant caste groups have used this occasion to support and finance candidates from among the weaker dalit communities in order to be able to disempower them and make them subservient for their control over the panchayat government. Jaggaiyan’s case is one among the several panchayat presidents who have been elected in reserved constituencies supported by Dominant caste votes. In Jaggaiyan’s case he attempted to rebel and even this was not tolerable to the dominant kamma naidus (naickers) and hence he was murdered by the same Vice-President of the Panchayat who financed his election. Interestingly the Vice-President Mr.Thirupathi Raja’s wife was the previous panchayat president and he functioned as the defacto president.
4. The quality of life and economic and social status of dalits especially among the minority sub-caste Arunthathiyar community has not improved as can be seen from this panchayat. They do not have access to potable drinking water, street lights and are totally landless dependent on the kamma naidus who are the land owners.
5. District Government officials and Police officials have made no effort in Tirunelveli district to provide protection to the vulnerable dalit panchayat presidents. There is no plan by the Government of Tamil Nadu to provide them with special awareness programmes about their rights on a priority basis, land distribution of cultivable lands and ineffective use of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Dalit Panchayat Presidents continue to live in insecurity.
6. Very often it is noticed that the unity of Pallar, Paraiyan and Arunthathiyar is very fragile in this panchayat. The kamma naidus chose not to put up dalit candidates from among the Pallars. As they were more knowledgeable, assertive and owned small pieces of cultivable land. While the Pallars are not totally dependent on the dominant caste, the Arunthathiyar are dependent on the land owners for their survival.
7. From evidence gathered by us during our fact finding investigation, we consolidated the following list of Dalit Panchayat Presidents who were functioning on the orders of the Dominant Caste groups and facing severe discrimination, humiliation and inequality.
Dalit Panchayat Presidents who are functioning as proxy / benami for Dominant Castes in Kuruvikulam Panchayat Union, after October 2006 Elections.
VI.Conclusion and Recommendations
1. We condemn the failure of the ruling DMK government for not publicly condemning the dastardly murder of Mr.Jaggaiyan, Dalit Panchayat President, and issue a stern warning to all castiest forces to stop the practice of brutal attacks on dalits and practicing several forms of discrimination.
2. We also condemn the failure of the opposition AIADMK Party, the MDMK and PMK for not taking any steps to restore faith to dalits and dalit panchayat presidents in Tirunelveli and specifically in Kurivikulam Panchayat Union.
3. Jaggaiyan is not the only Dalit President to face hostile dominant casteist forces, immediate steps must be initiated by government and / or organizations of civil society to held public enquiries of all such cases of dalit panchayat presidents facing torture, discrimination and abuse. Such an enquiry must be headed by a sitting judge of the Madras High Court who should be a Dalit.
4. At least rupees five lakhs must be paid to the family from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund; an investigation shows how even senior officers of the District Administration attempt to confuse the fact that once a dalit family is paid relief under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act then the C.M. Fund will not operate. This is a deception and must be condemned and action taken against such officers.
5. Two members of Mr.Jaggaiyan’s family must be given permanent government jobs immediately in the nearby vicinity.
6. We urge the police prosecution and the judiciary to treat this case as requiring speedy justice to the victim and his family, complete the trial in a speedy and fair manner and convict the accused for this premeditated cruel murder with a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. We urge the district administration to ensure protection to all witnesses and treat any actions of threats to witnesses as a grave violation of the criminal justice system.
7. We urge NGOs and the government to identify all dalit panchayat presidents who are vulnerable to dominant class and caste forces and provide them maximum support in terms of government benefits to the family, scholarships for the children, distribution of cultivable lands, government employment for family members, protection from threats by “upper caste forces” and provide training to enable them to administer the panchayats effectively without dependence on dominant caste forces.
8. Elections for the post of village panchayat presidents in Nakkalamuthanpatti Panchayat must be held within the next 30 days with full support of the district administration and monitoring by NGOs, and human rights organisations to ensure fair and free elections. The elected dalit panchayat president must be given full support by the district administration and training by NGOs to enable the elected president to function effectively and independently.
9. Jaggaiyan, a democratically elected panchayat leader, was prevented by dominant caste forces from exercising his legitimate fundamental rights and threatened to behave as a dummy of the casteist forces. This resulted in his death. These forces believe that dalits can be used as benamis to destroy the very purpose of decentralized participatory democracy. This is a mockery of democracy. We condemn all such undemocratic and fascist practices by dominant caste groups and call for an immediate halt to all forms of dalit oppression and discrimination.
State Executive Member
Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Presidents of Panchayat Government
Mandalakottai Panchayat, Tanjore District
Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Presidents of Panchayat Government
Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation
Law Trust, Nagapattinam
[Courtesy: Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation]