Published: 14th June 2019
Officials revoke transfers orders issued to Dalit anganwadi cook whom caste Hindus protested against
Jothilakshmi, while speaking to Express said that the officials informed her that she could continue her work at Valyapatti and proper protection would be given to them
The oral order of transferring two schedule caste Anganwadi women workers was revoked on Thursday and the Project Director of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme directed the women to continue their work at Valayapatti noon meal center. M Jothilakshmi and M Annalakshmi, the Dalit women were appointed as a cooking supervisor and cook respectively on June 3 by then district Collector S Nagarajan.
Meanwhile, there was communal tension in the village due to the temple festival and the water supply to the Dalit hamlet was disconnected by a section of caste Hindu. The houses of the Dalits were also damaged. Further, a case was registered against the caste Hindus and 11 persons were arrested. In this backdrop, the caste Hindus submitted a petition to the district administration to transfer the two anganwadi workers protesting. The protesters said that they will not send their children to consume the food prepared by the Dalit women.
Following the representation and citing the law and order, the concerned jurisdictional police (Thirumangalam) recommended that the social welfare department officials transfer the workers from the village. Subsequently, an oral transfer order was passed directing Jyothilakshmi to work at Madipanur and Annlakshmi to Kilavaneri villages. Speaking on the issues, DRO Shanthakumar (Collector in-charge) said "No transfer order was issued and they were merely asked to look after the Anganwadi centers at Madhipanur and Kilavaneri, which are both situated close by."
Now they've been asked to look after the Valayapatti Anganwadi center, where they were posted originally. Jothilakshmi, while speaking to Express said that the officials informed her that she could continue her work at Valyapatti and proper protection would be given to them. However, Jothilakshmi was apprehensive citing the situation prevailing in the village. Meanwhile, DRO Shanthakumar called for a peacekeeping meeting at the village between the two communities, "We have asked both the community people to send their representatives to the meeting and probably the meeting would be convened on Friday."
Kathir, the Executive Director of Evidence, an NGO said that "It is unfortunate that caste discrimination was allowed inside a government institution and what happened to those women in the village is not a dispute, as what the district administration is constructing. Its an atrocity against the Dalit workers".He further urged the authorities to file a case under SC/ST Atrocities Act.