A reporter for a leading Tamil news channel was allegedly beaten up by office bearers of the Attupakam panchayat in Gummidipoondi on Tuesday. The reporter visited the place to report on the caste-based discrimination faced by the Dalit panchayat leader of Attupakam, Amrutham, who was not allowed to hoist the national flag at a school on Independence Day.
As soon as the reporter Ezhil, working for Puthiya Thalaimurai channel, introduced himself, at least five men allegedly attacked him in Attupakam. He was also allegedly kept in individual confinement for coming forward to report the story.
Speaking to TNM, Ezhil said, â€śFive people including the husband of vice-president and panchayat secretary attacked me. They snatched my phone and locked me in a room at 10.30 am. In the attack, I suffered injuries to my eyes and chest.â€ť
â€śI have given a complaint to the Gummudipoondi police station and two people have been arrested,â€ť he said.
Gummudipoondi police inspector Rajendran said, â€śWe have taken action on the complaint. We have registered an FIR and further investigations are going on.â€ť
An FIR has been registered under Section 147 (Punishment for rioting), Section 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement) and Section 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of Indian Penal Code.
On Independence Day, a Dalit woman panchayat leader Amrutham was stopped from hoisting the national flag by panchayat office bearers and caste Hindus. She is the first panchayat leader to be elected from Attupakkam after the seat was declared as a reserved seat for the Scheduled Caste community.
Last week, Amrutham was invited by the headmistress of a school to hoist the national flag for Independence Day. However, the headmistress soon called her again and told her not to come for the function.
Following this, Amrutham told TOI that she has faced similar discrimination. She also said that the former panchayat president verbally abused her and the panchayat secretary made her sign papers that she could not read. She was also allegedly not allowed to use the chair meant for the panchayat leaders.