Tamil Nadu

Official apathy: Tamil Nadu activist advertises ‘vacant’ Collector post

Police book him for protesting Pudukottai officials’ failure to remove encroachments

It was not just his activism that landed 39-year-old Durai Guna alias Gunasekaran in trouble. His novel ways of protesting had a role to play too. A few days ago, residents of Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu woke up to posters he had pasted all over town, calling for applications to fill the ‘vacant posts’ of District Collector, District Revenue Officer and other officials.

A Dalit social activist and writer based in Pudukottai, Mr. Durai Guna put up the posters to protest “official inaction” on his plea to remove encroachments from an irrigation tank. He alleged that three persons were illegally occupying three hectares of the Vettukulam tank, and were raising crops. He had petitioned the Collector and other officials in 2017, urging them to clear the encroachments as per High Court and Supreme Court orders. There was no action. The activist then put up the posters and hand bills. The notices “invited” applications for the posts of Collector, DRO, Divisional Revenue Officer and Village Administrative Officer. The qualifications were “general knowledge, discipline and self respect”.

No ‘recommendations’

Recommendations of Ministers and others would not be entertained, the notices said. The VAO of Theerthanviduthi filed a complaint against Mr. Guna alleging insult to officials. Based on this, the Karambakudi police booked a case against him under IPC provisions: Section 170 (pretending to hold any post as a public servant) and 501 (printing any matter known to be defamatory). However, he had not been arrested.

Mr.Guna was outraged: “I am really perturbed over the case filed against me. The officials, instead of taking action against the encroachers, have threatened me by filing a case. It is an attempt to stifle my voice,” he said.

Meanwhile, Collector P. Uma Maheswari said the encroachers had been asked to vacate immediately.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 7:38:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/official-apathy-tamil-nadu-activist-advertises-vacant-collector-post/article29311052.ece

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