(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 10, 2010
DYFI Organises Vigorous Protest Actions Against Untouchability
S P Rajendran
DECEMBER 25 is a
historic date in the history of class struggle in Tamilnadu as it is
with the Venmani martyrs. It was on this day 42 years ago, on 1968,
oppressed and suppressed agricultural workers of
Every year since then, tens of thousands of working people from all parts of the state attend the Red Salute programme at Venmani, organised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Commemorating the day on December 25 this year and linking the elements of class struggle with the struggle against untouchability, the Tamilnadu state committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) organised direct actions against the various forms of untouchability. Thousands of youth joined these protest actions, and this struggle for the rights of dalit people scored remarkable victories in five places.
Of these places,
Kokkarayanpettai in Namakkal district is the seat of nearly 1800 years
At Mathur village in
Nagapattinam district, the dalit people, who were not able to exercise
right to enter the
At Kottaiyur village in Trichy district, the dalit people had had no right to walk with their footwear on and were not allowed to enter the local temple. The DYFI and the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) announced a protest programme against these customs. Here also, the government authorities intervened and held talks. Caste Hindus relented under the pressure of these officials and dalit people successfully entered the temple.
In Tiruppur district, it was a different experience. At Koduvai village in this district, a saloon shop owner had constantly refused to employ the dalit Arundhadhiya people, because it was a shop meant only for caste Hindus. Recently, when some flag carrying DYFI cadres assembled in front of this saloon shop, the shop owner closed the doors and personally mobilised caste Hindus of the village against the DYFI cadres. Then the concerned officials intervened.
Another form of untouchability has been destroyed broken at Palaya Pattinam in Cuddalore district. Though there is a statue of Dr B R Ambedkar in the village, dalit people could not use the common streets of the village to approach the statue for garlanding it. The DYFI decided to lead the dalit people of the village in a programme to use the common village roads for reaching Dr Ambedkarís statue and garlanding IT. Here, government officials sided with the caste Hindus and sent a police posse to the village in opposition to the DYFI programme. Nearly 300 policemen, carrying long lathis, then occupied the entire area around the statue. All the streets were sealed. However, hundreds of DYFI cadres and dalit people mobilised and held a road roko action. The protest action lasted for nearly two hours. Then the police arrested all of them.
In all the above
villages, some tension did prevail and the DYFI state committee urged
government to take necessary steps to maintain peace and protect the
rights of dalit
people. But the chief minister of Tamilnadu, M Karunanidhi, criticised
that the latter was out to disturb the law and order in the state.
Apart from organising such direct actions, DYFI cadres participated in a large number of demonstrations and other actions against untouchability in as many as 12 districts.
P Sampath, leader
of the Tamilnadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF), and DYFI
R Velmurugan, L Shanmuga Sundaram, S Muthu Kannan,