Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu on Friday wrote to all district collectors in the state asking them to ensure that no elected leaders of any local body are prevented from hoisting the national flag on Independence Day on the grounds of their caste.
He noted that the practice of untouchability has been abolished under Article 17 of the Indian Constitution and any form or any acts of discrimination against the members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes were punishable offences under sections of the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Irai Anbu said that if the collectors find any difficulty in implementing the above orders, they need to ensure they have enough police protection. He added that a helpline can be created and a nodal office may be appointed to enquire into the complaints in connection to this. The collectors have been told to submit a report on the measures they have taken for the smooth conduct of the event before the eve of August 14 and another report after the conclusion of the event on August 17.
The chief secretary’s order comes in the wake of a recent incident near Chinna Salem in Kallakurichi where a Dalit woman panchayat president wrote a letter to the deputy superintendent of police seeking protection to hoist the tricolour on Independence Day, alleging that PTA members were preventing her from doing so because she belongs to a Scheduled Caste.
The chief secretary also urged the district collectors to ensure that apart from the elected personnel, people gathered for the Grama Sabha meetings participate in large numbers in Independence Day celebrations.