The number of COVID-19 positive cases have increased to nearly two lakhs in Tamil Nadu. The week also witnessed several protests including that of the farmers against the green corridor project. The News18 management is being accused of victimising a bureau chief, reportedly due to right wing pressure. NewsClick brings a roundup of happenings this week.
COVID-19: NEW SINGLE DAY SPIKE OF 6,785 CASES
The number of COVID-19 cases are on a steady increase in spite of high claims of the government. The tall claims of high recovery rate is being marred by the continuous spike in various districts, exposing the failure in tracking the primary and secondary contacts of the positive patients.
The total cases in the state rose to 1,99,749 on July 25, with 53,132 active cases and 1,43,297 discharges. The state also recorded a new single day spike of 6,785 cases on July 23. The total deaths also increased to 3,320 in the state. The missed cases of 444 deaths in the Greater Chennai Corporation was also included in the total casualties after the report of the reconciliation committee.
Five more members of the state Assembly tested positive this week, taking the total number of lawmakers contracting the infection to 19. Eighty-four staff members of the Raj Bhavan, including security personnel have tested positive. Four family members of health secretary Dr J. Radhakrishnan tested positive, with him isolating himself after testing negative for the virus. Read More
NEWS18 SUCCUMBS TO RIGHT WING PRESSURE, FORCES STAFF TO RESIGN
The Tamil Nadu branch of News18 has forced one of its bureau chief to resign, reportedly due to the pressure of right wing forces. Haseef Mohamed was asked to resign after he was intentionally dragged into a controversy over videos published by a YouTube channel, Karuppar Kootam.
Haseef, as the joint secretary of the Centre for Media Persons for Change (CMPC), was spearheading the protests against retrenchments and wage cuts in the media organisations. The management insisted him to refrain from unionising the media persons.
The News18 management’s move followed a right wing vlogger, Maridhas publishing a video in early July showing alleged links of noted media persons owing allegiance to Dravidian parties. He even went on to claim that the management of News18 had responded to his email on the allegations, which were proven to be fake. The channel has registered a complaint against the vlogger for the fraudulent claims and a first investigation report is being filed.
Haseef has lodged a complaint against the allegation, but no action has been taken so far. The desperation of the right wing forces to gain upper hand in the state is gathering momentum with the recent developments. Read More
KARUPPAR KOOTAM YOUTUBE CHANNEL TEAM ARRESTED
The members of Karuppar Kootam, a YouTube channel run by a group of atheists, have been arrested for uploading derogatory videos. The controversial video was critical of the Kanda Shasti Kavasam, a devotional song written in praise of Lord Murugan. The anchor of the show, Surendar, a former member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, surrendered after the complaint was lodged.
Another member of the team, Senthivasan has been sent to police custody for four days. The demand for extension of custody for Surendar was rejected by the metropolitan court in Chennai.
The cyber crime police have taken down all the videos published by the channel after right wing groups protested against them. The office of the channel was also sealed by the police.
The head of the advocate wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had registered a complaint against the YouTube channel for the videos. Since all the efforts of the party to gain a hold among the voters of the state are failing miserably, the religious beliefs have become the last resort of the BJP. Read More
GREEN CORRIDOR ROAD: FARMERS OPPOSE GOVERNMENT MOVE
The state government has appealed against the stay of the Madras High Court on dropping the 8-way green corridor road connecting Chennai and Salem in the apex court. The farmers affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha held protests across Tiruvannamalai district condemning the state government’s move of approaching the Supreme Court to overturn the order of the High Court.
The protests are continuing even after one year of the Supreme court refusing to vacate the stay of the high court. The court had ordered the state government to return the lands acquired for the project. Read More
PROTEST AGAINST INFLATED ELECTRICITY CHARGES
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) held a black flag protest opposing the exorbitant electricity bills to the consumers. DMK president M K Stalin and other members of the party protested from their residences holding black flags and placards demanding relief from the higher charges levied.
M K Stalin in a Facebook post accused the state government of aggravating the hardships of the people who have lost jobs and wages during the pandemic. The other opposition parties have been demanding the state government to calculate the charges as per the previous procedure of bi-monthly calculations. But, the government has continuously rejected the allegations on inflated charges.
DOCTORS OPPOSE VICTIMISATION DURING PANDEMIC
The doctors of Connor government hospital in Nilgiris district staged a flash protest against the highhanded attitude of the district administration. The recent surge in cases across the state reflected in the district as well, leading to the filling up of beds. The doctors opposed the health department decision to admit more COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital.
The district administration, instead of accommodating the patients in other facilities, insisted the hospital authorities to admit more patients. The district collector took a knee jerk action and deputed the whole staff to another hospital. The doctors association took the matter to the health secretary and ensured the punitive action of the district administration was cancelled.
TRUCK OWNERS STRIKE WORK
The Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation (TNLOF) and Tamil Nadu Trailers Association held a one day strike on July 22 demanding tax relief for the lockdown period. They also condemned the continuous increase in diesel prices and demanded the reduction in taxes to benefit the consumers. The strike was supported by the All India Confederation of Goods Vehicles Owners’ Associations (AICGVOA).
The state government had earlier informed the Madras High Court of its inability to waive the road tax, citing revenue loss. The TNLOF approached the court to seek relief from the tax for the lockdown period as the cargo movements were banned.