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Govt takes 4 years to restore dalit sarpanch’s pride

BHOPAL: It took the government four years to restore dignity of Badami Devi, a dalit sarpanch of a non-descript village in Morena district. For the first time in these years, she would hoist national flag on August 15 at Purawaskalan, a village nestled in ravines of Chambal.

But she will be able to unfurl the tricolour only in presence of a sub-divisional magistrate, SDO (police) and a tehesildar.

Every year when I went to unfurl the national flag, I was not even offered a chair by school principal and former sarpanch Nathu Singh would perform the job, said Badami, who is currently staying in a dingy lodge in Bhopal told TOI. She was in Bhopal to meet chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

After Chouhan intervened on Sunday, the district administration swung into action and is making necessary arrangements for flag hoisting in her village, which doesn’t have a panchayat office of its own.

“I am not the one who is meted out this treatment. There are over 100 dalit women sarpanchs in Morena alone, the government must carry out a random check to find out reality that after 20 years of panchayati raj in MP, how many of them can really hoist national tricolour on August 15,” she said.

“Whenever I tried to lodge a complaint, they never received it or gave a receipt,” she said.

CEO of Morena district Panchayat Ashish Gupta told TOI over phone, “I came to know about it only few days ago. We never knew that this was happening to her.”

Badami also wondered why panchayat secretary of her village was held responsible for this and suspended after she met the chief minister. He was posted in the village after January 26 this year and is innocent, she said.

For last two years she has also been struggling for construction of a middle school. Raising the issue she also staged a dharna in Bhopal. “But the government insists that the school would be constructed on the basis of second gram sabha, which was illegal and convened by ex sarpanch and not by me.”

 

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