In a relief to Paappal, the 42-year-old cook who was harassed by people from the dominant caste in the region, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes directed Tiruppur district administration to make her job in the government school a permanent one.
The commission also ordered Tiruppur district police to file an FIR under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on the Block Development Officer of Avinashi, who had given in to the pressure from the people from the Gounder community.
Advocate Panneerselvam, Paappalās counsel, confirmed the development to TNM and said that the commission has ordered the Tiruppur district administration to submit a report on the steps taken in this case within a month from the date of the order. The commission has also directed the police to file the chargesheet within a month and to arrest the remaining accused at the earliest.
āApart from this, the commission has also advised the Chief Education Officer of Tiruppur to conduct sensitisation and awareness event in the Government High School, Thirumalai Goundenpalayam about caste-based discrimination. The commission specifically said that it was wrong of the school to allow such an incident to happen and that events like this will inculcate the sense of casteism in them, which is wrong,ā he said.
Paappal who cooked mid day meals in the Government High School in Thirumalai Goundenpalayam was harassed by members from the Gounder community two weeks ago. People protested against her working as a cook at the school claiming that the food cooked by a person from scheduled caste was āimpureā.
Paappal, who has been working as a cook for about 12 years now, belongs to the Arundathiyar community, which falls under the Scheduled Castes category. She filed a complaint with the Cheyur police station immediately after the incident occured and an FIR was registered against roughly 80 people under various sections of the SC/ST Act and the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Women Harassment Act. However, there was no case registered on the BDO, which issued the transfer order to Paappal, following the protest from parents.
The police arrested seven persons, named as the main accused in the case, last week and are on the lookout for the others who are absconding.
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes also issued a notice to the District Collector, Superintendent of Police and the Chief Education Officer of Tiruppur to appear for a hearing on July 30 regarding the actions taken under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 2015.
Speaking to TNM, an elated Paappal struggled to express her happiness at the order of the commission.
āI am extremely happy that they are making my job permanent. I wanted to stay here, in Thirumalai Goundenpalayam since I was born and brought up here. Now I donāt have to move anywhere. I am happy that I gave complaint this time and did not tolerate this atrocity,ā she said.