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PMK claim on Dalits ‘abducting’ Muslim women draws flak

Critics say it is a politically motivated charge like its earlier bid to pit caste Hindu outfits against SCs

August 16, 2016 09:16 am | Updated 09:16 am IST - CHENNAI:

PMK founder S Ramadoss’ claim in a television interview that Dalit youths had ‘abducted’ Muslim women in Erode is being seen by some sections as an attempt by the party to drive a wedge between Muslims and Dalits, just as it had consolidated caste Hindu outfits against Scheduled Castes on the issue of inter-caste love marriages.

In an interview to a television channel two days ago, Dr. Ramadoss, who took the position that Dalit youth were ‘enticing’ girls belonging to other communities in the guise of love and later deserting them, said, “In Erode district, 200 Muslim women have been kidnapped. The Imam had expressed this to me… Every community – Brahmins, Reddys, Vanniars – has been affected. Dalits are being educated and instigated by this Dalit party (a reference to Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi).”

“This (charge) is new,” said Aloor Sha Nawas, the deputy general secretary of the VCK and the party’s Muslim face. “This is an issue which will resonate in society and this is why the PMK has once again taken this issue up,” he charged.

Arguing that the Muslims and other minority communities had backed the Dalits, he said, “Even when the PMK invited Muslims to be a part of the consolidation earlier, the Muslim representatives disapproved of it. This is an attempt to split Muslims and the Dalits. We will expose Dr. Ramadoss and his divisive politics to the Muslim community.”

Some critics saw parallels between the ideological narrative pursued by some right wing leaders, who claimed that Muslim men are duping Hindu women for the purpose of conversion and that of the PMK leader who accused Dalit men of consciously pursuing women from other communities with an eye on their property. Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader M.H. Jawahirullah disagreed with the comments made by Dr. Ramadoss. “In the age of social media, it is common for young men and women to fall in love beyond caste and religion. The fact is that it is happening in all sections of society. To accuse an entire community or a party is completely mischievous. This shows that the PMK is not politically relevant anymore and is trying to reassert itself through these kinds of politics,” he contended.

However, a PMK ideologue, who did not wish to be named, denied that the party or its founder was anti-Dalit and that it was only against a “prominent Dalit party”, which is instigating the youth of its community. “How can we be against 19 per cent of the population? We are not. We are only against some youth who are systematically engaging in this drama for usurping ‘property’ and wealth,” he said.

Media blamed

According to him, the media often ignores the excesses of the oppressed communities. “In the spirit of progressiveness and not to heap more pressure on historically disadvantaged communities, the media has not been as critical as it should be. There is a huge problem,” he said in an obvious reference to the incident in Villupuram, where a Dalit stalker, who had lost a hand and a leg in a train accident, claimed to be a victim of caste atrocity and killed a Vanniyar school-going girl recently.

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