TIRUVANNAMALAI: A panchayat staff was placed under suspension on Wednesday for alleged caste discrimination and for allegedly preventing the civic body head from discharging his duties in Kallarapadi panchayat, Pudupalayam block, in Tiruvannamalai district.
"Velmurugan, the panchayat secretary of Kallarapadi, was placed under suspension following an inquiry held by the assistant director of panchayats on complaints of discrimination," Arthi, project director (PD) of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), said. The suspension order was issued on Tuesday, she added.
The panchayat president Ezhumalai, belonging to Dalit community, was allegedly prevented from performing his duties as the head of the civic body. He was not even allowed to occupy the seat of the president but was forced to sit on an ordinary plastic chair whenever he was allowed to enter the office, it is alleged.
The panchayat secretary had allegedly verbally abused the civic body chief, saying that he would not accept him as the head because he had earlier worked as a shepherd for daily wages.
Moreover, Velmurugan allegedly kept the office locked in order to deny access to the civic body chief, who lodged a complaint with Tiruvannamalai Collector Sandeep Nanduri on Monday and staged a sit-in protest in front of the closed civic body office.
Following orders of the collector, a preliminary inquiry was held before Velmurugan was suspended.
Arthi said that a detailed probe will be held on the issue and a meeting of the village panchayat will be conducted next week in the presence of senior officers, including the assistant director of panchayat and personal assistant to the PD of DRDA.