VIRUDHUNAGAR: Alleging that the panchayat vice-president, a caste Hindu, has been making her sit on the floor of the panchayat office because of her caste, the Dalit president of the Gurumurthy Naickenpatti panchayat, M Muthulakshmi submitted a petition to the district collector R Kannan on Wednesday.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, the 37-year-old woman she alleged that the vice-president P Varadharaj (51) had been harassing her because of her caste and work seated on the floor of the panchayat office. "He is also forcing me to sign documents and is stopping me from doing my duty. He is also an ex-police personnel and so the four other ward members are taking his side,” she charged.
According to sources in the village, Muthulakshmi was made to do her work from the vice-president's house. A few months ago, both of them fell out due to issues related to the panchayat’s finances.
Following this, Muthulakshmi sought to be present at the office on a daily basis and started probing his activities. Irked by this, he allegedly started harassing her by making her sit on the floor inside the office, citing her caste. A person close to the vice-president, seeking anonymity, said that Muthulakshmi was thrown out of the panchayat office a few days ago after she complained about the harassment. Finally, she decided to submit a petition to the Collector.
While the vice-president would not be reached for comment, the Block Development Officer Banthey Nawas Haja Mydeen said that he had been posted there only a week ago and had been informed of the issue. He said he was looking into the matter. The Collector said an inquiry was underway.