DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday said it was his duty to retrieve lands belonging to the Scheduled Castes from encroachers irrespective of the fact that the lands were now occupied by a judge or a former Chief Minister.
Referring to observations of Krishnammal Jagannathan, Sarvodaya activist, that the judge should have surrendered lands in Tiruvallur district immediately after the controversy over the ownership arose, Mr.Karunanidhi concurred with her views and said perhaps Ms.Jagannathan was unaware of the Siruthavur land controversy, wherein there were allegations against a former Chief Minister for having encroached upon land belonging to the SCs. He noted that an enquiry commission had also been constituted.
Mr.Karunanidhi, who received the Ambedkar Chudar award at a meeting organised here by the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, said it was also the duty of VCK president Thol.Thirumavalavan and Ms.Jagannathan to retrieve land meant for the livelihood of the depressed classes.
As regards the host of demands made by Mr.Thirumavalavan, the Chief Minister pleaded his inability to fulfil them because he said the Assembly was now in session. However, he would include them in his party manifesto for the next Assembly elections and implement them on his return to power.
The VCK leader wanted installation of the statues of Ambedkar and E.V.Ramaswamy in the new Assembly complex. He asked the Chief Minister to construct memorials for Sundaralingam and Ayothidasar and set up a commission to go into the retrieval of Panchami lands from encroachers.
He suggested the creation of an award in memory of Quaid-e-Milleth. He explained that his party had decided to honour Mr.Karunanidhi because of his decision to provide three per cent quota for Arunthathiyars within the overall quota for SCs.
Ms.Jagannathan; K.Veeramani, Dravida Kazhagam president; Abdul Rahman, poet; and Gnana Aloysius, social activist, were given awards. Devaneya Pavanar, Tamil scholar, was given an award posthumously.