Tamil Nadu

Memorial for those killed during Vanniyar quota struggle

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Thursday said the State government would construct a memorial (manimandapam) in Villupuram for the 21 people who were killed in the police firing during the struggle demanding exclusive reservation for the Vanniyars in the 1980s. The memorial will come up at a cost of ₹4 crore.

He also promised education qualification-based government jobs for family members of those killed in the agitation that was led by the Vanniyar Sangam.

Making a suo motu statement in the Assembly, he said he had promised a memorial during the campaign for the byelection to the Vikkiravandi constituency in 2019.

Recalling their struggles, Mr. Stalin said that to render justice to the sacrifice made by “social justice fighters”, the DMK government, led by former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, in 1989 had created the ‘Most Backward Classes’ (MBC) and allotted 20% reservation in education and employment to members of those communities, including the Vanniyars. “That paved the way for their development,” he said.

Mr. Stalin said the DMK government, after assuming office, had legally ensured 10.5% reservation for the Vanniyars in government jobs and higher education. “It is the objective of the DMK government to protect the rights of the oppressed sections,” he said.

He also recalled Karunanidhi’s words, “I belong to a backward section of society, and my community has a place in the MBC list. I will fight till my last breath for the welfare of the backward classes.”

Mr. Stalin said social justice was a gift of the Dravidian movement not just to the Tamil society but to the entire country. “It was the Justice Party that, through the communal government order, introduced the reservation policy. When it faced challenges after Independence, Periyar [E.V. Ramasamy] and Anna [C.N. Annadurai] worked together to protect it. The struggle drew the attention of the nation, and Kamaraj persuaded [Prime Minister] Jawaharalal Nehru to amend the Constitution to get legal protection,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 9:10:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/memorial-for-those-killed-during-vanniyar-quota-struggle/article36264037.ece

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