CPM corporator who faked as Dalit loses post

(Special Story)
(By Mukundan C. Menon)

In a classic example of non-Dalits snatching posts and facilities due to Dalits, the Principal Munsiff's Court, Kozhicode, held the election of a CPM corporator null and void for winning the reserved seat without being a Dalit in the last local body polls. The Court also declared the defeated rival belonging to Congress the winner.

The CPM Corporator, M. Thankam, had won from Corporation ward 22 at Mankavu, by defeating the Congress candidate K. Madhavi . Since the Mankavu ward was reserved for Scheduled Caste women, Madhavi moved the court challenging the elected CPM rival's claim to SC status.

Thankam's election was invalidated by the Court after identifying that she had contested on the basis of a "false identity based on false documents". Although Thankam belonged to Peruvannan caste, which does not figure in the official SC list, she obtained a certificate from the Tahasildar saying that she belsonged to the duly SC listed Mannan community.

It was pointed out that though those who belong to Peruvannan caste can alter to Mannan if they sought SC benefits by undergoing rigmaroles like enquiry, report by Tahasildar and publication in Government Gazette. However, all these were not attempted in Thankam's case before issuing the certificate as Mannan by the Tahasildar, the Court was told.

Snatching of posts and facilities from Mannan caste by Peruvannans was reported earlier in this web site on March 12 ("Sabotaging Dalit Reservations : Kerala Style").

According to Dr. N. Vishwananthan Nair, Director of Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development of Scheduled Castes and Tribes (KIRTADS), the Peruvannan was only a form signifying the ritual and social elevation of the SC Mannans. Therefore, on technical grounds, the former cannot claim SC benefits as long as they do not undertake the official process to get themselves reverted to their original Mannan caste tags.

As the government expert body, the KIRTADS had persued the case with keen interest.

Dr. Nair added further : "Peruvannans were originally Mannans who were bestowed that prefix in recognition of their dexterous performances as Theyyams, the traditional art and ritual forms, in Kozhicode and Kannur districts. A large number of people had shed the Peruvannan label and reverted to Mannan caste name through the due legal process to enjoy SC benefits since 1976."

Source: in-house
Referred by:Mukundan C. Menon
Published on: March 27, 2001
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