“Let DMK announce they do not want votes of other communities”

PMK leader S. Ramadoss on Tuesday joined issue with DMK president M. Karunanidhi, who had accused him of indulging in caste politics, saying that in 2001, the DMK too faced the Assembly elections in the company of caste organisations that were masquerading as political parties.

In a statement here, Dr. Ramadoss said when he was asked about aligning with caste leaders in the Assembly leaders, Mr. Karunanidhi justified it saying the alliance would achieve victory in the elections.

“He brought together caste elements to retain power. But we have mobilised leaders of various caste organisations to protect ourselves from the misuse of the provisions of the SC/ST prevention of atrocities act,” Dr Ramadoss said.

The PMK leader said though Mr. Karunanidhi was seeking to project himself as a friend of Dalits, it was the DMK regime that failed to prevent the killing of 44 Dalits in Keezhavenmani in 1968 and again unleashed the police against the workers of Manjolai tea estate in Tirunelveli in which 17 Dalit workers were killed.

Dr. Ramadoss also made it clear neither he nor the leaders whom he had mobilised were against inter-caste marriages, but only against Dalit youth targeting girls of other communities with ulterior motives, especially to extort money from the parents of the girls.

“The Left leaders who had joined hands with Dalits should also realise it. Let them inquire into the background that led to violence in Dharmpuri and come to a conclusion. If they are not interested, let the DMK and other parties openly announce that they do not want the votes of other communities,” he said.

Fresh legitimacy

Staff Reporter from Nagapattinam writes:

Dr. Ramadoss has given fresh legitimacy to “honour” killings by launching his tirade against inter-caste marriages, said G. Ramakrishnan, State president, CPI (M) here on Tuesday.

Quoting instances of such killings in the recent past, Mr. Ramakrishnan said a mainstream party with no talking points had chosen to whip up caste hatred, which did not augur well for State.

It was ironical that the resolution passed by the alliance of non-Dalit and intermediate castes, led by PMK, claimed that untouchability was abolished from the State, when their opposition to inter-caste unions was itself a blatant manifestation of continued prevalence of untouchability in the State. At a time when the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, needed strengthening, the PMK had called for its dilution, he said. Mr. Ramakrishnan also referred to the Mohan Committee recommendations on providing quotas for wards of inter-caste marriages in employment.

According to Mr. Ramakrishnan, the challenge posed to social justice would be countered by forging an alliance with like-minded parties on the issue. The CPI (M) also scheduled a condemnation meeting at Dharmapuri against the utterances of the PMK chief on Wednesday.