Office bearers of the Athupakam panchayat in Tamil Nadu's Gummidipoondi allegedly beat up a reporter of a leading Tamil news channel when he visited the place to report on an incident of caste-based discrimination where a Dalit Panchayat Chief was not allowed to hoist the Indian flag on Independence Day.
Reporter Ezhil, who works for Puthiya Thalaimurai TV channel, was attacked by at least five men as soon as he introduced himself. He was then allegedly kept in individual confinement for trying to report the story.
Speaking to The News Minute, Ezhil said: "Five 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."
"I have given a complaint to the Gummudipoondi police station and two people have been arrested," he added.
Gummudipoondi police inspector Rajendran said, "We have taken action on the complaint. We have registered an FIR and further investigations are going on."
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.
Earlier, Athupakkam village's Dalit panchayat president alleged that she was not allowed to hoist the national flag on Independence Day as a result of caste discrimination.
V Amurtham, 60, claimed that although she was invited to a government school for flag-hoisting, they later asked her her not to come, citing concerns over coronavirus.
According to the woman's son, Sasikumar, his mother received an invitation phone call to hoist the national flag at 8:30 PM. However, half an hour later, she was asked not to come.
He said that the event was held without her anyway, despite the apparent health concerns that they had cited as a reason to ask her not to come.
Amurtham said that being the panchayat chief, she still held sway over community affairs. She has been receiving threats and has been discriminated against.