CHENNAI: More than 5,000 acres of ‘Panchami’ lands (lands assigned to SCs) have been occupied by other communities in eight districts of Tamil Nadu and action has been initiated to get them back, according to Vice-Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes L Murugan.
Murugan, who is conducting a hearing of cases pertaining to atrocities against Scheduled Castes at the State Guest House, told Express that notice had been issued to people of other communities occupying 600 acres of Panchami land to vacate it.
As per law, Panchami land, which came into being after Madras government passed the Government Orders 1010 and 1010A dated September 30, 1892, could not be sold, or mortgaged to anyone.
Dalit activists claim that despite the Act, Panchami lands meant for Dalits had disappeared. On Dalits in the State being forced to approach the courts to register even First Information Reports pertaining to cases linked to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Murugan said that this attitude of officials should be changed.
“According to new amendment to the Act, if an officer neglects his duty to file FIRs under the Act, action can be taken against the official, he said.
Murugan said that he was hearing eight cases and one of them pertained to a murder in Puducherry wherein the Director General of Police, Puducherry is being summoned.
He said he along with the Director of Adi Dravidar Welfare reviewed the implementation of schemes for Scheduled Castes. He said he will be reviewing the schools and college hostels run by the Adi Dravidar Welfare department.