People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 29

July 18, 2010



DMK Govt Exposed Once Again


S P Rajendran


ONCE again the DMK government in Tamilnadu has bared its cruel face insofar as human rights, particularly dalit rights, are concerned.


This is the story of Uthapuram, a tiny village in Madurai district, where a powerful struggle led by CPI(M) had demolished the wall of untouchability three years ago.


After continuous negation of the government of Tamilnadu and the district administration to fulfil the basic demands of dalit people of the village, cadres  of the CPI(M) and Tamilnadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) attempted on June 12 to lay siege of the district collectorate. They condemned the district administration for its callous attitude in handling the Uthapuram issue and meeting their long pending demands of the right to worship the peepal tree, a bus shelter and free access to village roads.


More than 1000 people participated in the agitation.


The siege, which started peacefully around 11a m, ended up with a cruel attack unleashed by the police on the protesters. The police did not spare even an MP, two MLAs and women. Earlier, their negotiations with the district administration had failed.


CPI(M) cadres led by its Central Committee member T K Rangarajan MP, MLAs N Nanmaran and S K Mahendran, rural district secretary C Ramakrishnan, urban district secretary R Annadurai, TNUEF president P Sampath, its general secretary K Samuel Raj, state secretaries M Thangaraj, S K Ponnuthai and hundreds of activists held a road blockade in front of the collectrorate. They raised slogans against the district administration for their leniency towards the caste Hindus and denying the just demands of dalit people. After the road blockade started, top leaders of the party were called for negotiations with the district administration.


During the talks, T K Rangarajan stressed demands of right to worship the peepal tree, a bus shelter and free access to the common road for dalits. He demanded an explanation why the fund provided by him to construct the shelter was returned back. He described it as being against the law because the MPs fund was the people’s money and should be spent for their cause. He called the detention of dalits under cooked-up charges as unlawful. The Uthapuram issue and the dalit people’s demands were referred to the district administration almost three years ago, yet nothing has happened. Rangarajan sought to know the stand of the district administration on the plight of dalits.


The villagers and the TNUEF functionaries informed the district administration that the common roads were being encroached by the caste Hindus who have placed several road blocks. Even their pet animals and cattle occupy the roads, making them inaccessible for vehicles. They charged that the police were favouring the caste Hindus and restricting the use of vehicles by dalits even in emergency situations. The protestors wanted to know why their just and legal demands like the right to worship and a bus shelter were denied and sought an explanation from the district administration. The collector said he would visit the village in a short while and take necessary steps, but the protestors refused to take his word. They said they had seen as many as four collectors visiting the village but in vain. Rangarajan even stated that they were ready to wait in front of the collectorate till the collector visited the village.


As no consensus was reached, the collector said he would discuss the issues with higher officials in private. Hence the negotiation failed and the delegates returned to join the agitators.


Suddenly the administration ordered to disperse the protestors by force. Immediately after the order, the police unleashed its pre-planned attack on the people. Their long lathis liberally came down on the peaceful protesters. Leaders and front ranking cadres of the party and TNUEF were then forcibly separated and brutally attacked. The police did not bother about any rules and rights of anybody. They surrounded each and every protester and attacked her or him wildly. They deliberately dragged out and brutally beat down the leaders like P Sampat, K Samuel Raj and others. Nearly 40 cadres were injured.


Later as many as 374 of the protestors including 118 women were taken into the custody and were taken to the Thamukkam Grounds.


AIDWA district committee member Nallathangal , SFI leader Senguttuvan and Krishnamoothy and a CPI(M) cadre from Virudhunagar were heavily injured and admitted to the hospital.


CPI(M) Central Committee member N Varadharajan, K Balabharathi MLA, and Dindigul district secretary N Pandi visited the injured in the hospital.


CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan vehemently condemned the barbarous police attack. Party units conducted demonstrations across the state, condemning the attack.


CPI state secretary D Pandian, MDMK general secretary Vaiko and human rights organisations also condemned the police brutality.