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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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PT threatens militant struggle

By Syed Muthahar

TIRUNELVELI, JULY 30. The Puthiya Thamizhagam founder, Dr. K. Krishnaswamy, today warned that his party would launch a `militant struggle', if the Centre and the State failed to initiate steps to resolve the Manjolai estate workers row.

Speaking at a public meeting organised by his party to mark the second anniversary of the Tamiraparani tragedy, Dr. Krishnaswamy said his party never believed in violence.

He said his party decided to join the NDA, only after the Karunanidhi regime came forward to take steps to solve the plantation workers' problems. The Government efforts forced the Manjolai management in April to concede a majority of the workers' demands for which the PT had been fighting since 1998.

However, following the change in Government, the management went back on its assurance and now it is back to square one, Dr. Krishnaswamy said. His defeat in the recent Assembly elections would not deter him from fighting the workers' cause.

``All these four years, we have been maintaining patience despite the loss of 17 human lives and there is a limit to every thing''.

Procession to the river

Earlier, members of the PT, including women, participated in a rally here to pay homage to 17 victims of the Tamiraparani tragedy.

Dr. Krishnaswamy led the rally from Hotel Aryaas to the Anna statue junction, in which members of the Tamizhaga Aikiya Muslim Jamath also participated. The participants raised slogans terming the tragedy a major human rights violation of the last century and demanding that the Government accord permission for establishment of a memorial on banks of the river. They also demanded that the Government withdraw the report of the Justice Mohan Commission, which enquired into the tragedy.

Dr. Krishnaswamy, other leaders of his party, Mr. S. Shahul, State joint secretary of the youth wing of the Aikiya Muslim Jamath along with the relatives of a few victims, were allowed to go to the banks of the river, where they paid floral tributes to the victims. The members of the Aikiya Muslim Jamath offered `Fathiha' (special prayer).

Later addressing the participants, Dr. Krishnaswamy said he had been pressing for government permission for erecting a stupi (pillar). He had even raised the matter in the previous Assembly. The Collector refused permission for the memorial citing some reasons. As the partymen did not want to violate the established norms, it was maintaining patience.

Earlier speaking to presspersons, Dr. Krishnaswamy said the Mohan Commission report did not render justice to the victims and sought either a CBI enquiry or the setting up of a fresh commission to bring out the truth.

On the direction of Mr. S. R. Jangidd, City Police Commissioner, the police had made security arrangements for the rally. A strong force led by Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Kanyakumari district, moved at the head of the procession.

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