We are head and shoulders above other States in this regard: Jayalalithaa

Tamil Nadu is free of any extremist menace, especially Naxalism, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in the Assembly on Tuesday.

Intervening in a debate on the demands for grants for the Home, Prohibition and Excise Department, she noted that Deputy Leader of the Opposition S. Ramachandran had said that it was because of “economic disparities” that extremism took roots.

“We have no fear of Naxals or extremists at all here and we are head and shoulders above all other States in the country in this regard.”

Encounter deaths

When Mr. Ramachandran referred to “encounters”, she said that there had been only one encounter under the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime, in which and five youth from northern India, who were suspected to be involved in the two daylight bank robberies in Chennai, were killed.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said that it was improper to attribute any motive to such incidents because the police had to fire in self-defence. She gave a detailed account of the incident at Velachery and the material seized, including cash and arms and ammunition. As a case was pending before the Madras High Court in connection with the incident, it would not be proper to say anything more on the subject.

She wondered how some people found fault with everything that the government did. “When we do something, you find fault with us. Otherwise you allege we are doing nothing.” In the period between 2006 and 2010, when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was in power, there were 29 deaths in encounters, she said. At her request, a word used by Mr. Ramachandran qualifying encounters was expunged by the Chair.

When Mr. Ramachandran said the “culture of fear should be replaced with a culture of respect,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said the police had become quite public-friendly and all those visiting police stations were treated respectfully. Each station had been sanctioned 10 chairs for complainants to sit.

Custodial deaths

During the last 11 months of the AIADMK rule, there had been only four custodial deaths. “I don't know from where Mr. Ramachandran gets information like 11 deaths in custody,” she said.

She explained how some deaths were termed “custodial” though the police might be, in no way, responsible for them except that the ‘dead' were in police station for some time. On the number of road accidents, she pointed out that in 2010 (during the DMK rule) there were 1.31 crore automobiles and 64,996 accidents (0.11 per cent). In 2011, when the AIADMK came back to power, the vehicle population shot up to 1.48 crore and the number of accidents was 65,873 ( 0.1 per cent). “Though the vehicle strength has gone up during our regime, the percentage of accidents has come down.”

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