TAMIL NADU

Dalits, minorities feel insecure: CPI

TIRUCHI NOV. 24. The Bill on preventing forcible conversions has instilled a sense of fear and insecurity in the minds of Dalits and minorities and it is an attempt to divide the society, the CPI State Secretary, R. Nallakannu, has said.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the State Council meet of the party here today, Mr. Nallakannu said that to stem the slide and reinforce communal harmony in the State, the CPI and the CPI(M) had been jointly conducting conferences for social unity. Such conferences had been held at Tirupur and Chennai and would be held at Tiruchi and Tirunelveli too.

Mr. Nallakannu said the DMK, the MDMK and the PMK were not invited as it would not be proper to criticise the BJP and its ilk on the communal agenda keeping the NDA allies on the dais. He also reiterated that the Governor should not give his assent to the Bill. There had been a setback to the development and progress the State had achieved in the past. The move to privatise bus services and withdraw free power to farm pumpsets, trouble on the farm front, industrial stagnation and closure of spinning mills in some areas had affected development. More worrying was the ``casteist and communal'' forces had been allowed to take roots in the State. In opposing the proposed privatisation of bus services, the CPI feared that the move might not be transparent, he said.

To another question, Mr. Nallakannu said the State Electricity Regulatory Commission had replied that the suggestion put forth by the CPI in its affidavit filed before the panel could not be given effect under the prevailing conditions. He also urged the State Government to extend the `lean months grant' to jobless agricultural labourers.