Will act tough against officials if discrimination proven: SC panel
Departmental action will be taken against officials if found guilty in connection with the alleged discriminatory practices prevailing against scheduled caste people in S Valayapatti village who were attacked by members of an intermediate caste, said the vice-chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes L Murugan.
The NCSC team visited S Valayapatti village along with officials from revenue and police department including district collector (in-charge) S Shantha Kumar on Saturday. When asked whether the transfer of two anganwadi workers belonging to scheduled caste based on pressure from intermediate caste members did not amount to encouraging discrimination, the vice-chairman said that was why he had issued showcause notice to the officials concerned. He had asked them to explain why legal action should not be initiated under the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe (prevention of atrocities) act against those responsible for shunting the anganwadi workers out of the village, he said.
Murugan visited the affected people and took stock of the property damaged in the attack that took place on Sunday night. He insisted that the officials carry out speedy investigation and disburse compensation. Four people from scheduled castes had sustained injuries in the attack, which was the culmination point of the caste tension that has been prevailing there for about two years. The issue started flaring up once again in March when the people from scheduled caste were not allowed to worship in the village temple. While the intermediate caste people did not get approval for conducting jallikattu due to the tension, they turned the heat on the scheduled caste people. When they stopped water supply to SC people, the latter approached the local police. The police complaint fuelled the issue leading to the attack.
Murugan said “I had sent a detailed circular to all district superintendents of police in the wake of Katchanathan attack case to identity vulnerable areas and provide counselling to people to pre-empt communal issues and asked them to take stringent action against those behind such attacks.” With the students belonging to intermediate caste not turning up at the school after the incident, the vice-chairman asked the officials to bring all the students back to the classroom from Monday onwards. He said that 11 accused in connection with the attack have been arrested so far, but the villagers wanted 28 more to be arrested.
He said the police will form more teams and arrest all the suspects. The temple will be opened and officials will ensure that both communities worship without any dispute. The first installment of payment under SC/ST act to the victims will be disbursed on Monday, he said. Senior investigation officer from NCSC S Lister and district monitoring committee member B Pandiaraja also accompanied the vice-chairman.