Karunanidhi demands action against those indulging in caste politics
Major political parties in Tamil Nadu on Monday came out strongly against the attempt by Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss to bring together leaders of various castes on a common platform to campaign against inter-caste marriages involving Dalits and to seek amendments to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The parties, including the DMK, CPI(M), CPI and MDMK, warned that it went against social amity in Tamil Nadu. “It is a dangerous trend,” said DMK leader M. Karunanidhi when asked about Dr Ramadoss’ stand and the meeting of caste leaders sponsored by him.
Asked whether the PMK leader had resorted to such a move to increase his vote bank, all Mr. Karunanidhi said caste politics was dangerous and Dr Ramadoss was playing with fire.
To a question why the government had remained silent without taking any action against Dr. Ramadoss for whipping up the caste issue, Mr. Karunanidhi said it was view of the DMK that the government should act against those who indulged in caste politics.
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko said it was unbecoming of a leader of a political party to ridicule inter-caste marriages and the modern dress code of Dalit youth, who sought to secure equal status in the society.
Meanwhile, the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) in Chennai on Monday organised a demonstration here against efforts by Dr. Ramadoss to mobilise non-Dalit parties and groups. Leaders of the Left parties and others participated in the protest.
VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan lashed out at PMK leader Dr. Ramadoss, alleging that he had mobilised non-Dalit leaders against Dalits with a view to getting more seats for his party during electoral negotiations.
In a separate move, Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani brought together the DMK and other social organisations.
CPI (M) State secretary G. Ramakrishnan, who addressed the demonstration, said speaking against love marriages and inter-caste marriages would go against the sprit of the Constitution as one had every right to marry a person of one’s choice. “It is a fundamental right like the right to education,” Mr Ramakrishnan said.
CPI state secretary D. Pandian said what was burnt down in Dharmapuri was not just houses and properties of Dalits, but 80 years of social justice of Tamil Nadu.
“If the perpetrators of the Dharmapuri incident are not punished, it will pave the way for rule of rowdies in the State,” he said.
Dravidar Viduthalai Iyakkam leader Kolathur Mani said there were challenging times as intermediate communities that were empowered through social justice movements sought to oppress Dalits who were in the lower rungs of society.
In the meantime, Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani said he would encourage more and more inter-caste marriages and alleged that Dr Ramadoss had resorted to the present tactics to retain his vote bank.