OTHERS

Moopanar defends DPI leader

CHENNAI, JULY 12. Stoutly defending his ally and the Dalit Panthers of India (DPI) convenor, Mr. R. Tirumavalavan, who is facing flak, following the caste violence in Cuddalore district, the TMC president, Mr. G.K. Moopanar, today said the DP leader neither subscribed to violence nor was antagonistic towards any community.

``He (Mr. Tirumavalavan) is not unreasonable or belligerent,''the TMC leader said, participating in a function organised by the Dalit Panthers here.

Amidst the PMK's charge that the Dalit Panthers leader was responsible for the caste clashes in the northern district, Mr. Moopanar said that Mr. Tirumavalavan was committed to the welfare of the Dalits and would resort to a struggle only when the members of his community were attacked.

The TMC would support his struggle for the upliftment of the Dalits, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tirumvalavan said he would remain an ally of the TMC, unless the latter asked the DPI to leave its fold. The DPI's goal, he said, was to ensure that the Dalit community across the State emerged into a political force.

Lashing out at the PMK for allegedly letting loose violence on Dalits, he charged that the recent violence in Cuddalore district was a fall-out of the attack on a DPI volunteer and his vehicle by the PMK.

On the PMK leader, Dr. S. Ramadoss' charge that the DMK Government was supporting the DP, he said the Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, had no sympathies either for the ``Tigers (LTTE) or the Panthers.'' Referring to the killing of three Dalits in the Cuddalore district in May, he said, no political party, barring the TMC, had deplored the incident. Noting that Dalits had so far remained `patient and tolerant' to atrocities heaped on them, he urged the community to raise its voice against injustices.