Paappal, tired of the constant insults, had filed a complaint with the police under various sections of the SC/ST Act.

Seven arrested for harassing abusing school cook over her caste in Tiruppur
news Caste Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 12:47

The Cheyur police have arrested seven men accused of harassing and insulting a cook who belongs to a scheduled caste in Thirumalai Goundenpalayam near Avinashi in Tiruppur. The arrested have been remanded to judicial custody for 15 days.  

A 42-year-old woman, Paappal, who cooked midday meals in the Government High School in Thirumalai Goundenpalayam, was harassed by members from the Gounder community last week. The people were protesting her job as a cook at the school claiming that the food cooked by a person from scheduled caste is “impure”.  

Read: Casteism shunted her out from kitchens in 5 schools: The 6th time, Paappal said no

The arrested have been identified as Palanichamy (61) and Shanmugam (40) from Thirumalai Goundenpalayam, Sakthivel (42), Moorthy (47) and Kandasamy (42) from Yelur and Moorthy (27) and Palanisamy (40) from Paappan Thottam.  

On Thursday, a group of parents had staged a protest outside the school demanding the ouster of Paappal, stating that they will not let their children come to the school anymore unless she goes.  

They also locked the school for around three hours in the day pressuring the headmistress to heed to their demand. This led to the headmistress alerting the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Avinashi, who allegedly caved into the parents’ demands and issued Paappal a transfer order.  

Claiming that this was not the first time that she has been targeted for hailing from a scheduled caste, Paappal had told TNM that there were seven men in the group of protestors who had harassed her using casteist slurs seven years ago.  

She then filed a complaint with the Cheyur police, who registered an FIR against 80 people under Sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 294(b) (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 506(i) (Criminal intimidation) of the IPC.

Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prevention of Women Harassment Act 1998 and sections 3(1)(r) (intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view), 3(1)(s) (abuses any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe by caste name in any place within public view) of The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 have also been applied.  

Confirming the arrests to TNM, Avinashi Deputy Superintendent of Police, Paramasamy said, “We still have around 10-15 people to arrest since they are all absconding. We will, however, do it soon and file chargesheet and do the needful as per law.”