TAMIL NADU

Briefly

4 drowned in lake

Krishnagiri Aug. 21. Four persons including three children were drowned in the Pudur Lake here today. According to the police, 20 students from a private orphanage along with their caretaker, Pushpa (50) went to the lake and while Pushpa was washing the clothes she reportedly slipped and fell into the lake.

On hearing her cries, Velan (12), Sowmya (10) and Satish (7) jumped into the lake and tried to rescue her and all the four were drowned. Mani (8) who was on the bank immediately informed the villagers. Despite rescue attempts the four could not be saved.

The Fire and Rescue Services personnel fished out the bodies. The Collector, Mangat Ram Sharma, and the Superintendent of Police, M. Ashok Kumar, visited the spot.

PDS rice haul

VELLORE Aug. 21. Two hundred and ninetynine bags, comprising 13.320 tonnes of raw rice meant for the public distribution system (PDS) was seized by civil supplies authorities following a vehicle check at Nandiyalam near Ratnagiri on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway on Friday.

The Vellore Collector, S. Gopalakrishnan, said in a release that, on information that the rice meant for the PDS was being smuggled from Cheyyar in Tiruvannamalai district to Karnataka via Vellore, he ordered a vehicle check between Vellore and Arcot on Friday afternoon.

A team checked a lorry at Nandiyalam and found that 299 bags containing raw rice being transported without valid documents. The entire load was seized and sent to the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation godown here, while the lorry was seized.

Salesmen, packers suspended

Tirunelveli Aug. 21. As many as 22 salesmen and packers of ration shops were placed under suspension after the civil supplies officials detected presence of as many as 683 bogus family cards. According to sources, a special team conducted surprise check in some of the shops and found presence of bogus cards.

Besides stopping the selling of essential commodities, the officials recommended suspension of the salesmen and packers.

Protesting this decision, the Tuticorin branch of the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies Fair Price Shop Workers Association has decided to abstain from work on Monday.

Tanker lorry seized

NAGAPATTINAM AUG. 21. The Nagapattinam police have seized a tanker lorry transporting 7,000 litres of rectified spirit on the Nagapattinam-Karaikal border today.

Police sources said following a tip off from the driver of a van, which was caught carrying 2,000 litres of rectified spirit, a police team seized the lorry.

Chamber plea to Dharam Singh

CHENNAI AUG. 21. The South India Film Chamber of Commerce has urged the Karnataka Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, to convene a meeting of all concerned to resolve the disputes between the Kannada and the non-Kannada film industry.

The suggestion comes in the wake of recent attack on a cinema hall screening a Telugu film, on the office a distributor of other language movies and on the office of the Karnataka Film Chamber.

Condemning the attacks, which the chamber said were by members of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and the Samara Sena, its secretary, L. Suresh, in a communication to Mr. Singh said: ``We request your goodself to protect the other language films to sustain in Karnataka along with Kannada films.''

`Repeal anti-conversion law'

CHENNAI AUG. 21. A consultation meeting on the `need for socio-political awareness among Christians' in which 50 eminent Christians participated, resolved to urge the Government to formally repeal the Tamil Nadu Anti-Conversion Law.

It should be repealed either through legislation or by promulgating an ordinance, a resolution adopted at the meeting said.

It was also resolved to strive for deletion of the ``discriminating Clause (Para 3) that was incorporated in the Constitutional (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950'' to pave the way for Dalit Christians to enjoy the privileges enjoyed by other SCs.

The meeting decided to conduct another consultation in Madurai under the chairmanship of the Archbishop of Madurai, to which Muslim and Dalit leaders would be invited. A four-member committee comprising Bishop Ezra Sargunam, S. Arokiasamy, A.K.D. Jayaseelan and Joseph Fernando would meet Peter Fernando, Archbishop, to finalise the dates for consultation.

A forum should be formed and a state-level organised jointly by the Christians, Muslims and Dalits to press for their rights and privileges. A rally would be organised on January 22, next year. Rev. Lawrence Pius and Peter Alphonse were among those who attended the meeting.

Godown gutted

Tuticorin Aug. 21. Two shops and a godown were destroyed in a fire, which broke out in a cracker depot at Kazhugumalai near Kovilpatti this evening. No one was injured. According to fire service personnel, Gurusamy of Kazhugumalai reportedly stored crackers in the godown behind his shop on the main road.

The crackers caught fire and it spread to shops dealing with stationery and household articles.

Fire tenders from Kovilpatti and Kazhugumalai doused the flame. The cause is not known.