NewsClick brings a round up of the happenings in Tamil Nadu in the past week.
ANTI-CAA PROTEST CALLED OFF IN COIMBATORE
An anti-CAA protest in Coimbatore was called off after tension escalated in the district in the last ten days. A Hindu Munnani functionary was attacked by unknown assailants on March 5, following which a petrol bomb was hurled at a mosque at around 2 am on March 6. Two arrests were made with regards to the attack on the mosque, of which one person turned out to be a functionary of Bharatiya Janata Party and the other, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist. In another violence inciting incident, the state president of Hindu Munnani was seen threatening the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters to end the protests or face the consequences. He referred to the 1998 Coimbatore riots, which had resulted in the loss of life and property among the minority community. The protest was called off due to the continuing tensions and the fear of the spread of COVID-19 in neighbouring Kerala.
Meanwhile, Shaheen Bagh inspired sit-in protests continue in other parts of the state including Tiruppur, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli and Madurai. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] took out a rally to the state Assembly demanding a resolution against the CAA on Monday. The protesters were detained after a scuffle between the police and the protesting cadres. Read More.
RAJINIKATH DELAYS POLITICAL ENTRY AGAIN
The much awaited press meet of the famed actor Rajinikanth ended in disappointment for his long time fans. The actor announced that he will not be the chief ministerial candidate of the party he is founding and that he only wanted to lead the party. “I want to see an educated and dignified youth as the chief minister and 60-65% of the people’s representative to be below the age of 50,” the 69-year-old actor said, dashing the hopes of his fans. The actor also expressed that he is not interested in the political structure of the party and argued that the structure is required only during elections and not afterwards.
The reluctance of the actor may have brought some relief to the two Dravidian parties – Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and some hope to the BJP. The actor’s proximity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well-known and his support to the Modi-Shah duo on demonetisation, abrogation of article 370, CAA previously have given indications of his rightward shift. His claim of pursuing ‘Spiritual Politics’, too, show signs of aligning with that of BJP’s policies. Read More.
TWO DIE DURING MANUAL SCAVENGING
Two men, aged 40 and 35, suffocated to death in Kakkalur industrial estate of Tiruvallur district. The men belonging to scheduled caste breathed their last after entering a septic tank of a private company in the industrial area. The manager of the company has been arrested after the family members of the deceased protested.
The practice of manual scavenging is banned after the implementation of The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993. But the number of deaths in the state of Tamil Nadu has continued to increase in the recent few years.
TRANSPORT WORKERS WITHDRAW PROTEST
The workers of the State Transport Corporation withdrew their indefinite protest after the government announced the decision to expedite talks on wage revision. The previous wage settlement valid for three years ended in August 2019. All the workers put up a united fight against the undue delay with only the trade union of the ruling party staying away from the protest. The joint platforms of the trade unions condemned the unilateral announcement of the state government on the talks on wage revision. On a couple of incidences, the state government had invited only the trade unions owing allegiance to the ruling party resulting in revisions which were unacceptable to the workers.
The trade unions withdrew the protest after the government assured them about inviting all the recognised trade unions for wage talks on March 20.
PONDY VARSITY PROTESTS END
The month long sit-in protest and ten days’ hunger strike of the Pondicherry University Students Council (PUSC) was called off after the university administration approached the Madras High Court. The court instructed the students to withdraw their protest and advised the university to discuss the demands of the students with an open mind. The students demanded the withdrawal of the exorbitant fee hike of upto 225% for certain courses and implementation of free transportation and 25% reservation for native students. The students were held hostage for more than 20 hours when the vice president visited the campus for graduation ceremony.
The university administration is unwilling to consider the demands and has accused the students of sudden protest. Earlier in June 2019, the administration had promised to consider the demands when the then PUSC had held a hunger strike.