The DMK’s campaign in support of the Sethusamudram project was “laughable” considering that it was a DMK representative, T.R.Baalu, who held the shipping portfolio right from the commencement of the project work, CPI State secretary D. Pandian said here on Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a party event here, Mr. Pandian noted that work on dredging the sea for laying the Sethusamudram ship canal began in 2006, and up to 2009, Mr. Baalu was the Cabinet Minister for Shipping. “We are told Rs.2,700 crore has so far been spent on the Sethusamudram project. The people would like to know from the party and the then Minister how that money was used and where it had gone.”

Asked about the AIADMK’s affidavit in the Supreme Court, Mr. Pandian said the Communist Party had already issued a statement then stating it was wrong for a State government to file a petition on religious grounds. It was unconstitutional. There were a number of petitions from various quarters pending, and the AIADMK’s was one of them.

Placing the onus on the Centre, the CPI leader said the Centre had made a submission before the Supreme Court in 2010 that it would look out for alternate alignments for the seaway project.

The project was stopped based on this submission and not based on litigation, Mr. Pandian said. According to him, it was the Centre that was answerable and the DMK.

Alluding to the High Court’s pulling up the police for arresting a judicial officer in a sexual assault case concerning a woman sub-inspector, Mr. Pandian said a procedural lapse could not stall the woman’s quest for justice.

“The judicial officer should not be allowed to sit till his innocence is proven. If this could happen to a woman in uniform, then what about the safety of women in the State,” he wondered.

Asked if caste riots in Dharmapuri in a certain way signified the failure of the Left movement to counter bigotry, Mr. Pandian believed that wherever there was casteist mobilisation, the left movement and progressive forces were evidently weak.

“It is worth reckoning that in the same area of Dharmapuri, Communist comrades were shot dead for their extreme ideology. When Communism was strong in Dharmapuri, there was unity. When the State stepped in to stifle the left, divisive forces filled the void. It is the State that is responsible.”

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