Murder of six Dalits is a scar on history of oppressed classes: Thirumavalavan

It is only in India we have this practice of a human being cleaning and carrying the faecal matter of another human being, it is a shame that even during this age of advanced technological developments we have manual scavenging, said Thol.Thirumavalavan, MP, and president of Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi.

Addressing the cadres who had gathered in thousands at Melavalavu near Melur in Madurai district on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of ‘Melavalavu Massacre’ on Saturday, he said that manual scavenging issue was raised by him in the parliament during the discussion on ‘Railway Budget’ and asked the Railways Minister to do away with the dry latrine system but there was no reply from him, Mr.Thirumavalavan said.

The VCK leader said that the gruesome murder of six Dalits including Murugesan, president of Melavalavu panchayat in broad daylight was a scar on the history of oppressed classes and a blot on rights of Dalits on grassroot democracy in Tamil Nadu. The sacrifice made by Murugesan and other Dalits in the face of various atrocities were important for the Dalit movement as they were made to claim lost rights. They lost their lives in the battle to uphold basic democratic and political rights and give shape to the dreams of Dr. Ambedkar.

Welcoming the Marxist’s struggles against untouchability, he said that it was only after Ambedkar Centenary celebrations they started taking Ambedkar seriously and read him. “For both the Marxists and Tamil Nationalists caste was not at all an issue, they felt talking about caste could be detrimental to class struggle and Tamil nationalist solidarity,” the MP said. VCK is the only party in Tamil Nadu which talks about the abolition of caste, even as the other progressive parties talk about abolition of untouchability.

He alleged that even the major Dravidian parties talk about caste and give importance to Dalits these days only to make sure that there is no Dalit assertion based on Thirumavalavan’s emergence in Tamil Nadu politics. It is really a dangerous situation to note that a few caste-based political parties talking openly against inter-caste marriages and is issuing threats of dire consequences against such attempts. It is antithetical to the concept of social equality as State itself welcomes such moves and supports inter-caste marriages.

At Melavalavu, unmindful of threats from the dominant castes, Murugesan contested the election with the support of VCK and won. The VCK leader also remembered the sacrifice of two Dalits at Sennagarampatti who died fighting for land rights and few other Dalits who died fighting for auction rights over common property resources and fighting for stone quarrying rights against the oppressors. “We take oath here at Melavalavu every year to ensure that we are on the track to organise the oppressed and fight for their political rights,” he said.

Clarifying that he had no desire for gold or jewellery, the call for donation of gold coins on his birthday on August 17 is part of fund drive to build the party and modernise it.

Earlier he paid floral tributes at the ‘Viduthalai Kalam’ memorial, gave dress materials to members of the families of victims, christened babies in chaste Tamil names. Cadres of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), led by former MLA N. Nanmaran, S.K.Ponnuthai, All India Democratic Women’s Association and members of Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front, including K. Samuel Raj, state general secretary, paid tributes at the memorial. Both VCK and CPI (M) alleged that police and district administration were curbing the rights of Dalits to paste posters and erect flex boards to observe an anniversary where the oppressed were victims.

Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan camped at Melur and monitored the movement of vehicles and supervised the security arrangements. The police took positions at vulnerable points along the Madurai-Melur National Highway.

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