In the past week, the number of COVID-19 infections crossed 7 lakhs in Tamil Nadu, with the fresh cases dropping below 4,000 after almost 100 days. The sero survey held in Chennai found out that around 33% of the population has been exposed to the viral infection.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Thol Thirumavalavan has been booked by the police for his alleged speech on how women are degraded in Manusmriti. Actor Vijay Sethupathi faced the ire of the Tamil nationalist groups after accepting to act in the biopic of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan.
In another incident, seven workers were killed in a firecracker unit blast accident in Virudhunagar district on October 23. NewsClick brings a round up of the happenings in the state this week.
CASE FILED AGAINST MP FOR ALLEGED REMARKS
The leader of the VCK and Member of Parliament (MP) Thol Thirumavalavan has been booked for his speech on how the Manusmriti demeans women. The cyber cell of the Central Crime Branch has booked the MP under six sections on a complaint reportedly from a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.
A portion of his speech, delivered in a recently held virtual conference of Periyarist organisations on the role of Manusmriti in the caste divisions, is being circulated widely. The MP was quoting from the portions of the book on how the text degrades women, attracting criticism from the right wing forces.
The VCK has called for statewide protest on October 24, demanding the ban of the Manusmriti. The party has also recalled how B R Ambedkar and ‘Periyar’ rejected the Manusmriti being called Manu ‘Dharma’. Many Ambedkarite parties, progressive organisations and artists have extended support to the protest announced by the VCK leadership.
The political parties including the principal opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have condemned the police action on the leader.
MAN BOOKED FOR ISSUING RAPE THREAT TO ACTOR’S DAUGHTER
Actor Vijay Sethupathi’s daughter was issued a rape threat after he was signed to act in the biopic of Sri Lankan cricketer, Muttiah Muralitharan titled ‘800’. The actor later withdrew from the film on request of the retired cricketer, after the Tamil nationalist groups condemned his decision to act in the film.
A Twitter user called for sexually assaulting the minor daughter of the actor along with their photograph in a tweet. The Twitter handle has been blocked after continuous reporting by the Twitter users. The cyber cell has identified the user tweeting from Sri Lanka, who has been booked, followed by which help has been requested to arrest the culprit.
The political parties condemned the cyber attack on the family of the actor and demanded immediate action from the state government. The actor’s decision to act in the film was not well received among the Tamil nationalist groups in Tamil Nadu and he was even called as a traitor of ‘Tamils’. The anti- Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eezham (LTTE) stand on Muralitharan also played a role in raking up the controversy over the actor deciding to act in the film .
The demand of pushing the actor to withdraw from the film has been criticised as a move against the right to opinion.
33% OF CHENNAI POPULATION EXPOSED TO VIRAL INFECTION
The second sero survey held in Chennai has found that almost 33% of the population has been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Around 6,500 samples were tested of which 2,062 people were found to have developed antibodies. The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has not published the complete report of the survey, The earlier survey held in July found that one in five persons has developed antibodies.
The total COVID-19 infections increased to 7,03,250 with 32,960 active cases and 10,858 casualties till October 23. The number of fresh cases fell below 4,000 on October 18, after a gap of 99 days. The number of cases fell to 3,057 on October 23, the lowest since July 8.
The GCC tally of total infections increased to 1,94,139 cases with 10,628 active cases and 3,580 deaths till October 23. Twenty two districts in the state have recorded more than 10,000 positive cases so far, with the GCC nearing 2 lakh cases.
The Member of Parliament from Madurai constituency, S Venkatesan, has tested positive for the infection. The District Revenue Officer and Additional Collector of Kanyakumari district also tested positive.
SEVEN KILLED IN FIRECRACKER UNIT BLAST
A firecracker unit blast in Virudhunagar district claimed the lives of seven workers on October 23. While five women workers died on the spot, two more succumbed to the injuries on October 24. The accident took place when the workers were involved in mixing materials for mass production of the crackers ahead of the upcoming festive season.
Six cabin rooms meant for stocking the raw materials and crackers were reduced to rubble due to the continuous blast. The government of Tamil Nadu has announced Rs 2 lakh as solatium to the kin of the deceased.
The incidents of firecracker unit accidents are highly frequent in Virudhunagar district, owing to the large presence of manufacturing units in the district. The lack of safety measures has been alleged to be the reason for the accidents. The Sivakasi region in the district is known as the firecracker hub of the country, employing several lakhs of women workers.
RECALL GOVERNOR; DEMAND PARTIES ON NEET RESERVATION BILL DELAY
The Governor of Tamil Nadu should be recalled by the President of India for delaying the approval of the bill on NEET reservation proposed by the state government, demanded the political parties. The inordinate delay in approving the bill ensuring 7.5% horizontal reservation in medical admissions for government school students have led to protests across the state.
The Governor of Tamil Nadu has sought 3-4 weeks time to decide on the bill as he wants to analyse it in all possible angles, in a letter addressed to the DMK president. The DMK held a massive protest on October 24 near the Raj Bhavan to insist the Governor to sign the bill, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) demanded the President to recall the Governor for failing in fulfilling his constitutional duties.
The major political parties have alleged political motives behind the delay in approving the bill. The bill was sent to the Governor on September 18, after the Assembly passed the bill unanimously on September 15. The parties have not withdrawn their demand for scrapping the NEET exam, after several suicides of aspirants led to public outrage. Read More
GOVT REJECTS IoE STATUS FOR ANNA VARSITY
The government, after a prolonged controversy, rejected the proposal of the Union government offering the Institute of Eminence (IoE) to the Anna University. The rejection came after the political parties protested against the action of the Vice Chancellor (VC) who wrote a letter unilaterally, in support of the status.
The state government, which was demanding complete financial support for the institute, was irked by the move of the VC. The government has also sought an explanation from the VC for not consulting competent authorities before writing to the Union government.
The parties alleged that the 69% reservation policy followed in the state could be adversely affected if the university is IoE tagged, with an increase in fee as well. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has supported the Governor in the issue.
The circular of the University Grants Commission to all the universities to gear up for administrative reforms as per the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, has also caused an uproar. Many state governments including Tamil Nadu are yet to agree on the implementation of the NEP. Read More
LAPSES IN PADDY PROCUREMENT AFFECT FARMERS
The lackadaisical approach of the state government and the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) has resulted in heavy loss for the paddy farmers of delta districts. In spite of a historic high paddy yield, the farmers are shattered after the paddy procurement centres were closed down resulting in the yield left to be drenched in rains.
The temporary procurement centres lack several infrastructural facilities leaving the farmers to fend for themselves. The early closing of procurement centres and reduced procurement per day have severely affected the farmers. The delay in transporting the procurement of the previous season to the TNCSC godowns left no room for the current season’s yield to be stored.
The government was aware of the increase in cultivation, of upto 4 lakh acres in the Cauvery delta district, but no preparatory works were initiated, alleged the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).
The farmers also accused the lack of manpower in the procurement centres as the reason for rampant corruption in the TNCSC. The agony of the farmers are magnified by the private purchasers who pay much less than the Minimum Support Price (MSP). Read More