AIADMK flays 'anti-Dalit policies'
By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JAN. 12. The AIADMK general secretary, Ms. Jayalalitha, today accused the DMK Government of acting against the interests of Dalits in Tamil Nadu.

The Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, had violated the spirit of the Constitution by revoking, through an inter- departmental letter, the Government Order providing for clearing through direct recruitment the backlog of vacancies reserved for Scheduled Castes at all levels in all categories. ``This deprives him of the right to continue in power,'' she said in a statement.

The continued violation of a fundamental right of the Constitution made Mr. Karunanidhi a fit case for disqualification from the coming Assembly election as well, she said.

Referring to Mr. Karunanidhi's charge that during her tenure in office she had not passed any order ensuring reservation for Scheduled Castes at all levels, she said the Constitutional amendment empowering the State to make a provision for reservation for Scheduled Castes and Tribes not adequately represented in the services came only towards the end of 1995 a few months before she relinquished office.

The Dharapuram MLA, Ms. Saraswathi, had been charged with having fraudulently contested in a reserved constituency `with the blessings of Mr. Karunanidhi,' charged Ms. Jayalalitha.

The Government had also imposed an income limit of Rs. 50,000 for the disbursement of educational loans to Dalits. It had not acceded to the demand of scavengers and cobblers for the setting up of separate boards for their welfare, she said.

While Government regulations held that in any local body employing 50 or more scavengers, the services of persons concerned should be regularised, a recent order of the State Labour Department exempted from the purview of this rule the Chennai Corporation, the largest employer of scavengers in the State.

The Karnanidhi Government was lax in starting the construction of the Ambedkar memorial. Only after the Dalit community threatened to carry out a kar seva did Mr. Karunanidhi take steps to commence construction. Now, the construction was of pitiable quality and the memorial did not have a proper maintenance.

Referring to Mr. Karunanidhi's claim that the amount spent during his tenure on schemes relating to Dalits was Rs. 2,170 crores as against Rs. 696 crores during her tenure, Ms. Jayalalitha said the increase in outlay was only natural, brought about by cost escalations, increasing overheads and lower money values.

During the AIADMK rule, the amount allocated for building houses for Dalits was Rs. 16 crores as against Rs. 3 crores for Backward Classes. In 2000, the Karunanidhi Government had increased the allocation for Backward Classes housing to Rs. 18 crores while the allocation for Scheduled Castes remained at Rs. 16 crores. ``While no one is going to oppose or condemn the increased outlay for Backward Classes, it is sad a comparable or even a marginal increase in outlay for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was not envisaged,'' she said.

While the Karunanidhi Government had increased the age limit for the Backward Classes, there was no corresponding increase in the age limit for Scheduled Castes, she said.

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