Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin made a three-day visit to Delhi this week. He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17 and discussed many matters from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to additional COVID-19 vaccine for Tamil Nadu.
The daily COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu have dropped below the 10,000 mark this week. June 18 reported 8,633 fresh cases and 287 deaths. However, the vaccination drive is running at a snail’s pace.
In the wake of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas’ announcement inviting companies for exploration of hydrocarbons in various locations in the country, a cross-section of groups have opposed the move in Tamil Nadu.
The state also witnessed a series of arrests including YouTubers and a godman this week, for complaints under various laws.
STALIN’S DELHI VISIT
Stalin said that he raised many issues in his half an hour long meeting with the Prime Minister, such as scrapping the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), finding a permanent solution for the travails of fishermen at the hands of Sri Lankan Navy and completion of work for AIIMS at Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
He urged Modi to grant citizenship to Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, and withdraw the Citizenship (Amendment) Act along with the three farm laws.
Stalin also asked the Centre to provide additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the state, and to immediately operationalise the Union government's vaccine manufacturing facilities in Tamil Nadu. Read more
COVID 19: NGO CLAIMS SEVERE UNDERREPORTING OF DEATHS
With the receding COVID-19 cases, the state-wide lockdown was further eased this week. Some industries resumed work, but they are facing hardships due to the 33% workforce restriction, such as the firecracker industry in Sivakasi.
The state is expected to go for further relaxations from June 21.
Tamil Nadu is facing a severe shortage of vaccines. While people are flocking the vaccine centres, most are sent back due to lack of stock.
People queued up for vaccination tokens from 4 a.m. at Narasimhanaickenpalayam, Coimbatore.
As of June 15, only 11.2% of Tamil Nadu’s population has received at least one dose of vaccine and 2.8% are fully vaccinated.
An Asiatic male lion being treated for COVID-19 died on June 16, becoming the second carnivore to fall victim to the virus at the Vandalur zoo near Chennai within two weeks, the first being a lioness that died on June 3.
Meanwhile, the NGO Arappor Iyakkam claimed that COVID-19-related deaths are likely to be 13.6 times higher than what was reported in April and May 2021. It produced a study on COVID-19 death data from six government hospitals in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu health minister Ma. Subramanian, however, denied the claims saying the state has no need to fudge death reports.
3 YOUTUBERS, 1 GODMAN ARRESTED
Kishore K Swamy (41), an avid Bharatiya Janata Party supporter on social media, was arrested on June 14 for circulating defamatory content against CM Stalin, and former DMK leaders CN Annadurai and M Karunanidhi. He is also charged for harassing women journalists by posting obscenities about them on social media
The Central Crime Branch arrested the absconding Madan OP (29), a PUBG player and YouTuber on June 18 for his obscene comments against women during live streaming his games. His wife Kruthika (26) was arrested a day before, the administrator for the respective YouTube channels.
Self proclaimed godman Siva Shankar Baba (72) was arrested on June 17 on charges of sexually abusing girls at a school founded by him. The Crime Branch CID arrested him from Chittaranjan Park in New Delhi, where he was hiding.
Tamil Nadu Police arrested Duraimurugan (39), host of the YouTube channel Sattai, and three others for allegedly threatening a man who had put up a post criticising late Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Prabhakaran on social media. Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) party cadre are reportedly involved in the incident.
OUTCRY AGAINST HYDROCARBON TESTING
No new hydrocarbon project should be taken up in the Cauvery basin and neighbouring districts in the interest of protecting farmers’ livelihoods and the fragile agro-ecology of the region, CM Stalin said in a letter to PM Modi on June 13.
Farmers and the general public of Karukakurichi Vadatheru in Karambakudi block in Pudukkottai district have expressed stiff opposition to the proposed move by the ONGC to carry out exploration of hydrocarbons in their village.
Image courtesy: The Hindu
The Pudukudi village panchayat in Andimadam taluk in Ariyalur district passed a resolution opposing any move to explore hydrocarbons in the entire district. Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami, on June 17, also urged the Stalin government to oppose hydrocarbon projects in Ariyalur district.
Even in the neighbouring Union Territory Puducherry, Opposition leader R. Siva urged Chief Minister N Rangasamy to oppose the hydrocarbon projects proposed by the Union government in Puducherry and Karaikal regions.
AIADMK: 16 PUNISHED FOR TALKING TO SASIKALA
On June 14, the All India Annatra Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam expelled 16 party functionaries for their alleged communication and collusion with rival V K Sasikala. The party’s district secretaries across Tamil Nadu threw their weight behind Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, and convened meetings to pass resolutions condemning Sasikala’s attempts to 'take over' the party.
Estranged AIADMK leader Sasikala continued to reach out to AIADMK cadres, 30-odd audio tapes were released so far of her purported conversations with the party’s members, in which she assures them of her comeback to the party.
DOCTORS PROTEST AGAINST VIOLENCE, DEMAND STIPEND HIKE
About 35,000 doctors of the Indian Medical Association's (IMA) Tamil Nadu branch joined the nationwide protest on June 18 demanding a central legislation to protect hospitals and healthcare professionals from violence.
Image courtesy: The Hindu
Postgraduate medical students and medical interns practicing in government hospitals across Tamil Nadu held a protest on June 14 demanding hike in stipends. The protest was called by the Tamil Nadu Resident Doctors’ Association and it ensured that no disruption was caused to health facilities.
SANITATION WORKERS PROTEST ILL-TREATMENT
Condemning the harassment they face at the hands of their employee, Crystal Contract Firm, for raising fair demands, sanitation workers of Pudukkottai Government Medical College Hospital staged a protest on June 15. The workers were mistreated for asking for safety equipment and the Rs 15,000 COVID-19 relief fund provided by the government.
CITU district President Mohammad Ali Jinnah and District Secretary Sridhar took part in the sit-in protest at the hospital.
RENAULT NISSAN WORKERS SETTLE ON ARBITRATION
The Renault Nissan Automotive India Private Ltd and its workers union Renault Nissan India Thozhilalar Sangam (RNITS) settled on arbitration for wage revision and other demands. The Tamil Nadu government had recently published the terms of reference for arbitration.