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Kin of panchayat member yet to get relief


The member along with her grandson was set ablaze by her detractors for exposing corruption


HYDERABAD: Twenty days after Dhoolla Ratnam, a Backward Class woman Panchayat member of Srungavruksham village of East Godavari district was set ablaze along with her grandson by her detractors for exposing their corruption, her family has not yet received any relief from Government.

“It only shows the indifference of the Government not only to those elected at the grassroots level but towards the Panchayat Raj system,” said George Mathew, Director of the Institute of Social Sciences and Association of Local Governance of India, who led a fact-finding team to the village.

At a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Mathew said 45-year- old Ratnam’s problems began ever since she decided to enter the electoral battle in the Panchayat elections last year. Her rivals forced her to withdraw from contest. But the gritty woman took them on and won the elections as a ward member, though it was her debut.

Paying the price

A conscientious elected representative, she kept highlighting people’s problems and exposed those who were resorting to corruption and irregularities in Indiramma housing scheme. She had to pay a price for it with detractors setting fire to her thatched house on July 15 when she, her grandson, Veerababu and her neighbour Atchayamma were fast asleep. While Ratnam and Veerababu died on the spot , Atchayamma was admitted to a hospital.

Mr. Mathew said it was unfortunate that the State failed to recognise her death in such tragic circumstances and wondered if it would show similar indifference in the event of the death of a MLA or a MP.

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