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A study found that in 383 out of 1,600 village panchayats reserved for scheduled castes in Tamil Nadu, Dalit presidents are unable to exercise their powers. Representational image

TN: Tribal woman panchayat president to hoist national flag at office for 1st time

Saraswati Vijayan, 36, an Irula tribal woman who is also the panchayat president of Vellakuttai in Uthangarai, Tamil Nadu, will for the first time hoist the national flag at her panchayat office on August 15, 2022.

Vijayan had earlier hoisted the national flag at Panchayat Union Middle School at Vellakuttai panchayat on January 26, 2020. She, however, has not hoisted the flag at her panchayat office since coming to power in January 2020.

TNUEF Survey

A recent survey conducted by The Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) in 24 Tamil Nadu districts revealed that most state panchayat presidents of the Dalit community were not allowed to hoist the national flag while many were not even allowed a seat in the office.

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Post the report’s circulation, Tamil Nadu chief secretary V Irai Anbu asked all district collectors to prevent caste discrimination while hoisting the national flag during Independence Day celebrations.

After Anbu’s announcement, Velukkattai panchayat secretary and BDO erected a pole on the panchayat premises for the president to hoist the national flag during the Independence Day celebrations.

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The Krishnagiri district collector announced contact numbers to share complaints of any caste discrimination on the Independence Day, at district control room — 1077 or assistant director of panchayat – 7402607002.

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