CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan on Wednesday urged Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to “save exclusive Tamil river Tamiraparani,” warning that the river will vanish if the sand mafia is let loose.

“Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi should be more concerned. What destruction of environment is being caused just for filling the coffers of those who can be definitely called sand mafia,” Mr. Bardhan told a press conference.

“What it was and what it has become? I am afraid that the river will vanish if the sand mafia is let loose,” he said, recalling the personal appearance of senior CPI leader R. Nallakannu before the High Court drawing its attention to illegal sand quarrying in the river. “He has taken up the cause of fighting against sand mafia and the High Court has recognised his work.”

As regards Mr. Karunanidhi's accusations that the Left trade union instigated transport workers when the drivers and conductors affiliated to the DMK was assaulted by the son of a DMK councillor, Mr. Bardhan said the protest was spontaneous.

Mr. Bardhan reiterated the demand of his party for constitution of a Parliamentary Committee to look into the grievances of the people of Kashmir. Appointment of an interlocutor would be of no use.

He also made a strong case for withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) from Srinagar and adjoining areas, arguing that it could be imposed if the withdrawal led to any negative development. This could be tried in the North-East too.

As regards the verdict of the Allahabad High Court on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, he said since the judicial process was on, the Supreme Court would be able to do away with the extra-judicial and non-judicial aspects of the verdict of the High Court.

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