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TN this Week: Cyclone Burevi Damages Crops in Delta Districts, Left Parties and AIKSCC Continue Protests Against Farm Laws

A Dalit settlement of 40 houses was attacked by dominant caste members in Tirunelveli on November 27.
TN this Week: Cyclone Burevi Damages Crops in Delta Districts, Left Parties and AIKSCC Continue Protests Against Farm Laws

As of now, Cyclone Burevi has weakened has remained stationary in the Pamban region since December 3, bringing incessant rainfall to the delta and northern districts of Tamil Nadu. The districts of Cuddalore, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai, all in the Cauvery delta region, received very heavy rainfall which left lakhs of acres of crop under water. The southern districts received very little rain over the past three days.

Left parties continue to hold solidarity protests across the state against the Farm Laws from December 3. Members of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) members have been protesting as well, and will continue agitating from December 5 till the bandh on December 8.

Meanwhile, a pro-reservation rally planned by the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) turned violent in the outskirts of Chennai, leading to traffic disruption and cadres pelting stones on trains. The COVID-19 situation continues to improve in the state, with fresh cases falling below 1,400 on December 4. NewsClick brings you a comprehensive round-up of the happenings in the state this week.

Cyclone Burevi: Heavy Crop Damage in Delta Districts

Cyclone Burevi, now a well marked low depression, has brought severe rainfall to the delta districts. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy to very heavy rains in the southern districts, which have remained relatively dry.

The depression continues to bring heavy rainfall to Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur, while Cuddalore district remains highly affected too with severe waterlogging in parts. Moderate to heavy rainfall was also recorded in the northern parts of the state, including Chennai, Kanchipuram and Chengalpattu districts.

The farmers in the delta region, particularly in Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts, have suffered huge losses. Their sugarcane and paddy crop, ready for yields in two weeks’ time, were inundated with rain water. All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leaders said that the paddy crop in about 1.5 to 2 lakh acres was affected. The damage could be more, given the continuous rain and water logging in the fields.

Cane, cotton and banana farmers were also affected as their crops were brought down by the incessant rainfall and winds. The farmers were awaiting cultivation for Pongal, the upcoming harvest festival of the state. Read More

Left Parties, AIKSCC Hold Protest

The Left parties – Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI(ML)) – are continuing with protests across the state from December 4 in solidarity with the protesting farmers at Delhi’s borders.

The parties have also extended their support to the bandh on December 8, announced by the AIKSCC. Their protests continue despite incessant rainfall in most parts of the state due to the cyclone.

The parties conducted picketing protests, road rokos and demonstrations, demanding the withdrawal of the three Farm Laws. The parties have called for continuous protests against the “anti-farmer” policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre. Thousands of cadres have been detained while the parties have called for continuous protests in support of the farmers.

The kisaan organisations – under the umbrella of the AIKSCC – had called for effigy burning from December 5 against the three laws. The AIKSCC leaders and farmers will burn the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, in various districts. Read More

COVID-19: Dip in Fresh Cases

The state continued to report a steady dip in the number of new COVID-19 cases, with 1,391 case reported on December 4 the lowest in recent times. The total number of casualties increased to 11,762 with 7,87,554 total infections. The number of active cases under treatment, including under home isolation, dropped to 10,938.

The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has reported a total of 2,16,867 infections with 3,451 fatalities. The number of active cases in the corporation stood at 3,551 on December 4.

Chennai, Coimbatore, Chengalpattu, Salem and Tiruvallur remained the top 5 districts with new COVID-19 infections this week. The district of Perambalur has only six active cases while 11 other districts have under 100 active cases.

PMK Protest Turns Violent

The protest planned by the PMK, demanding 20% reservation for the Vanniyar community in education and employment, turned violent in the outskirts of Chennai on November 30. Party members, who were travelling towards Chennai in private vehicles, were stopped at Vandalur and denied permission for the rally, following which they resorted to violent retaliation.

After blocking the traffic on the GST road, PMK cadres were seen pelting stones at trains in the Perungalathur railway station. Hundreds of party cadres were detained by the police and were charged with causing damage to public property.

The youth-wing leader of the party and former union minister, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, met Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami after holding a protest.

The two parties contested alongside each other in the general elections, with the present agitation for demands, including reservation, were aimed at getting PMK more seats in the upcoming assembly elections.

Rajinikanth Announces Political Party

The famed silver-screen star, actor Rajinikanth, announced that he will confirm his political entry on December 31, 2020. In a tweet on December 3, he said that the announcement of the party will be made on December 31 and the party would function from January next year. The actor had refrained from making a political entry citing health issues in October.

Right-wing activists were seen celebrating his announcement more than his hardcore fans. The proximity to right-wing leaders is a known secret, but the actor has rejected the same.

While supporting various actions of the BJP government, including demonetisation, initially, the actor has criticised various struggles including the anti-sterlite protests. He had also accused political parties of misleading the people on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The actor held a press meet soon after the tweet and introduced two important leaders of the party. ‘Tamilaruvi’ Manian, a former Congress leader, will oversee party affairs and R.A. Arjuna Murthy will be the Chief Coordinator of the party. The latter was functioning as the state president of the BJP’s ‘Intellectual Cell’ until the announcement was made by the actor. The BJP state leadership ‘relieved’ him of responsibilities a little later.

Caste Atrocity in Tirunelveli District

A Dalit settlement of 40 houses was attacked by dominant caste members in Tirunelveli on November 27. The residents, belonging to the Paraiyar community, from Indira Nagar, Chettikulam, were attacked by the members of the Nadar community.

A member of the Paraiyar community was verbally abused by a group of Nadars on November 26, which was questioned by the affected person. Nembers of the nadar community carried out an attack on members of the Dalit community the next day.

A number of houses, window panes and two-wheelers were damaged in the attack, which was reportedly carried out by armed persons. Residents alleged that the police refused to accept their complaint and demanded action against the officials from the Kudankulam police station.

The CPI(M), Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi initiated legal proceedings after which a case has been filed under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Fear of Hindi Imposition

The state of Tamil Nadu, with a history of anti-Hindi imposition struggles, is gearing up for another round of protests. The past few months saw repeated instances of Hindi being made obligatory or Tamil being neglected by the Union Government and its ministers.

The recent introduction of a 15-minute Sanskrit news bulletin in the regional channel ‘DD Podhigai’, courtesy Doordarshan, has only aggravated concerns among people.

The pace of the Hindi-imposition by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been criticised for threatening the existence of regional languages. The central government and the party seem to follow the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) long-advocated policy of ‘One Nation, One Language’.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah too broke the rules when he wrote a condolence message in Hindi to mourn the death of CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s mother in October. The letter was condemned by the leaders of the state as no such precedence had been set before.

An uproar was created after AYUSH Ministry secretary Rajesh Kotecha allegedly asked those who could not understand Hindi to leave the virtual meeting for AYUSH and naturopathy physicians in August this year.

The three-language policy recommended in the National Education Policy (NEP) received its biggest opposition in Tamil Nadu. The state has been following the two-language policy (Tamil and English) and after a strong protest, the state government announced that it will not compromise on the existing policy. Read More

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