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Tamil Nadu: Stopped on Republic Day, Dalit woman panchayat president seeks cop protection to hoist flag on I-Day at school

The panchayat president also told the police that she was stopped from hoisting the national flag at the same school during Republic Day celebrations this year.

According to the Flag Code of India 2002, in case the flag is damaged, it should be destroyed as a whole in private, consistent with the dignity of the flag. (File)

A Dalit woman panchayat president recently sought police protection to hoist the national flag at a school in the Kallakurichi district of Tamil Nadu on Independence Day, months after she was stopped from hoisting the Tricolour on Republic Day this year at the same school.

In a letter written on August 3 to the Kallakurichi Deputy Superintendent of Police, the woman, V Sudha, panchayat president of Eduthavainatham near Chinna Salem, said she was “stopped by the president and the vice president of the Parent Teachers Association from hoisting the flag during the Republic Day this year” as she “belongs to the scheduled caste” and thus, she is seeking police protection to hoist the flag on the Independence Day.

Sudha also mentioned that ten panchayat presidents before her had hoisted the flag at the government higher secondary school.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Kallakurichi Deputy Superintendent of Police S Pugazhendi Ganesh said the police will not tolerate discrimination of any form and will provide security to Sudha. The DSP added, “There are different practices in different areas. In some places, the panchayat president might hoist the flag while in others, it may be the Parent Teacher Association’s president. There is no standing order from the government that only panchayat presidents should hoist the flag on Independence Day or Republic Day. Conventionally, the headmaster is the authorised person to hoist the flag.”

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The DSP added, “The woman claimed that she is being discriminated against because she hails from a socially-backward community. We will provide protection to Sudha on Independence Day and have informed the headmaster about it, who informed us that he has no issues if she hoists the flag.”

Ganesh further said that giving protection was a measure to eradicate such kind of discrimination and the police will take stringent action against those who discriminate against others on any ground. He said an FIR under the SC/ST Act has been lodged in connection with the Republic Day incident and a probe is underway.

First published on: 10-08-2022 at 04:23:35 pm
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