TN This Week: NCPCR, BJP Claim Religious Conversion, State Finds No Merit in it
Image credit: Prakash R
Chennai: A 20-year-old B. Tech student at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras ended his life by hanging in his hostel room on September 15. In 2019, IIT-M student Fathima Latheef also died by suicide. The incident had spurred a movement against institutional harassment.
In a fresh criminal case, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on September 12, booked All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) MLA SP Velumani for allegedly abusing his position and granting tenders to his associates while he was municipal administration minister. The agency said it has caused a loss of up to Rs 500 crore to the state.
In another case, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tamil Nadu filed a complaint on September 13 against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP A Raja for making statements at an event reportedly decrying Hindus, and thereby trying to instigate communal riots.
During the week, the police picked up Tamil journalist Savitri Kannan from his home in Chennai on September 11 for his article claiming a flawed investigation of the Kallakurichi student’s death. The journalist said his arrest was an attack on freedom of the press.
In addition, 18 rabies deaths were reported in Tamil Nadu in just eight months from January to August this year. Officials have termed the situation as worrying.
NewsClick brings you a round-up of the happenings this week in Tamil Nadu.
AIADMK PROTESTS POWER TARIFF HIKE
Tamil Nadu’s main Opposition party, AIADMK, on September 16 staged a state-wide agitation against the increase in power tariff by the ruling DMK government. They urged the state government to roll back the hike.
Speaking at the protest In Chengalpattu, Leader of Opposition and AIADMK’s interim general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami called Chief Minister Stalin a ‘vasool mannan’ (collection king). He also mentioned the recent hike in property taxes.
Also, more than one lakh powerloom units in Coimbatore and part of Tiruppur district went on indefinite strike from September 16 opposing the power tariff hike. The Federation of Tamil Nadu Powerloom Unit Owners’ Association decided that powerloom units across the state will not pay the revised tariff.
BREAKFAST SCHEME LAUNCHED
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin launched the breakfast scheme for government school students from class I to VI in Madurai on September 15.
Stalin said the scheme would bring beneficial change in the lives of poor people. Read more
ANOTHER CONVERSION ROW
After a preliminary investigation, a team of state government officials, on September 13, said they found no merit in the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (TNCPCR)’s allegation of forced conversion at CSI Monahan School Girls Hostel in Royapettah, Chennai.
Following that, the TNCPCR Chairperson met state Governor RN Ravi and handed over a report based on their inspection of the school.
Notably, the TNCPCR Chairperson and members are embroiled in a tussle with the DMK over a government order cancelling their appointment on the Commission’s panel, which was stayed by Madras High Court in March.
Meanwhile, S Peter Alphonse, chairman of the State Minorities Commission on September 14, stated that false charges of conversion are being propagated. He said, “The TNCPCR is a statutory body. Its chairperson was appointed by the previous (AIADMK) government. We get the impression that the commission is acting with an ulterior motive”.
The NCPCR summoned Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu on September 20 to explain the delay in the submission of a report on the allegation.
NARIKURAVAR, KURUVIKARAN IN ST LIST
The Narikoravar and Kuruvikaran communities are to be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) of Tamil Nadu.
The Union Cabinet approved a Bill which seeks to make certain amendments to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes Order, 1950) to modify the state’s STs list.
SAVUKKU GETS JAIL TERM
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court held YouTuber and whistleblower Savukku Shankar guilty of contempt of court for his remarks saying the “entire judiciary is riddled with corruption” and sentenced him to six months in jail. The bench of Justices GR Swaminathan and B Pugalendhi held that Shankar has many contempt cases against him, but he has not shown remorse at all.
In their statement regarding the verdict, the anti-corruption organisation Arappor Iyakkam pointed out that the conviction of Savukku Shankar “will have a chilling effect on common citizens from airing their grievances about Judicial functioning and Judicial system”.
EATERY NAMED AFTER PERIYAR ATTACKED
A restaurant named after social reformer Thanthai Periyar was vandalised by a group of men near Karamadai in the Coimbatore district on September 13. The owner of the hotel, who was attacked, accused the Hindu Munnani workers of it.
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