Tamil Nadu, on July 3, became the second state in the country to register one lakh SARS-CoV-2 cases and yet, the Chief Minister and health minister reject the possibility of community spread.
Meanwhile, the sangh parivar organisations are relentlessly spreading hate even during the pandemic. The move to project that Muslim extremists have killed an Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary backfired, as the killer was reportedly identified as a local Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) leader. NewsClick brings a round up of happenings across the state this week.
COVID-19: POSITIVE CASES CROSS ONE LAKH
The state recorded 4,329 positive cases on July 3, taking the total cases to 1,02,721. The last two days recorded more than 4,000 cases. The week saw an increase of 28,099 cases of which 14,782 cases are recorded in the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) limit. Chennai has so far recorded 64,689 cases with 996 fatalities, and with that the casualties in the state increased to 1,385.
The state recorded more than 3,700 cases on seven consecutive days, with Chennai recording more than 2,000 cases in the last five consecutive days.
The number of cases in the other districts of the state continue to increase with Madurai recording a total of 3,423 cases. Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur with 6,139 and 4,343 cases, respectively remain the most affected districts after Chennai.
A medical officer from Chengalpattu district died of the infection while 18 officials of the Enforcement Directorate have tested positive. As the spread continues, the government has decided to set up more Siddha care centres. Read More
NO REMORSE FOR FAKE PROPAGANDA
The sangh parivar organisations, including many fringe groups who are known for their relentless anti-minority propaganda and adding communal angle to any issue made another attempt in the murder case of the father of an RSS activist, reportedly a temple priest.
The Twitter handle of Indu Makkal Katchi tweeted the photo of the deceased man stating 'Swayam Sevak's father murdered by extremists'. The right wing activists reportedly added false claims and alleged that the murder was carried out by members of the Muslim community. A Twitter user even claimed that the state has now become unsafe for RSS activists.
Another right wing fringe group, Bharatiya Hindu Parivar Tamil Nadu claimed that the man was killed for conducting pro- Citizenship (Amendment) Act programmes. The false claims were nullified after a BJP functionary was arrested for murdering the man due to personal animosity. Read More
PONDY VARSITY FORCE STUDENTS TO VACATE HOSTELS
The Pondicherry University is allegedly forcing the residents of the hostel to vacate their rooms even as no public transport facility is available. A total of around 20 students have been staying in the hostels since the lockdown began on March 24. The unplanned lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came as a big shock to everyone.
A student of the university said, “I reached the campus by the end of January to finish my research work. Since the lockdown was announced all of a sudden, we could not return back. Now the administration is forcing us to vacate the hostel, but we have no option to return home.”
As the train services are cancelled till August 12, the students are left with no options to return home. “We are following all the preventive measures recommended by the government in preventing the spread of the pandemic. We are safe inside the campus and the university is trying to force us to get exposed to the infection by asking us to leave,” the student added.
MANUAL SCAVENGING DEATHS CONTINUE
Manual scavenging continues to claim the lives of members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) community. Four people died on July 2 while cleaning the septic tank of a house in a village in Thoothukudi district. All the four men were aged between 20 and 24 and were natives of Tirunelveli district.
The owner of the house has been booked under Section 288 and Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code. He has also been booked under Sections 8, 9 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavenger & Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and Section 3 (1) (j) of The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Even as law prevents manual scavenging, the crime exists in all possible forms including the government offices. The demand for technological inventions in the area continues to be neglected. Read More
STAFF OF SEVERAL PRIVATE FIRMS TEST POSITIVE
Seven staff of a food testing lab in Dharmapuri district have tested positive for the COVID-19 infection. The staff reportedly contracted the infection from a visitor belonging to Thoothukudi district. The lab has been subsequently sealed. Two staff of Micro Lab, a pharma company producing hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol also tested positive.
More than 70 staff of a private firm in Yellanalli in Nilgiris district have tested positive so far. This amounts to 50% of the total cases in the district. The testing of around 80% of the staff, their primary and secondary contacts have been completed.
DEATH TOLL IN NLC BOILER BLAST INCREASE
The number of deaths in the NLC India Limited (NLCIL) boiler blast rose to seven with a deputy chief engineer succumbing to burn injuries on July 3. On July 1, six workers died and 17 were injured when the boiler in Unit V of the thermal power station-II of the NLCIL had exploded.
While boiler accidents are considered to be rare in thermal power plants, the repeated accidents in Neyveli are pointing towards the compromise of safety measures. The workers union alleged that the privatisation of the maintenance works and corruption in allocating works are the major reasons for repeated accidents.
The NLC General Workers and Employees Union have accused consecutive union governments of betraying the PSUs in favour of private players. The number of workers in the organisation have reduced over the past few years. Read More
CINE INDUSTRY WORKERS STRUGGLE
The workers of the famed Tamil film industry are struggling to earn their income due to the lockdown. A huge percentage of the workers of Kollywood are daily wage earners. The relief materials distributed by the famed actors and small financial aid of the government have saved them from starvation, while their basic needs are far from attended to.
The Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) cancelled all film related work on March 16 as a precautionary measure. Different craft workers of 24 organisations are affiliated to the FEFSI. The workers are not guaranteed of daily work even during normal times and the condition of the workers is expected to worsen after the relaxations are lifted. Read More