CM's gesture to victims of police excesses
UDHAGAMANDALAM: The eight Badaga youths, who were paraded half-naked and severely lathicharged by the police on the main road of Meekery village near here last year, will recover from the mental agony and hit the headlines on June 7 as the Chief Minister J Jayalalitha has decided to directly disburse the compensation recommended by the State Human Rights Commission to them at Chennai.
The CM has also decided to withdraw all the cases registered against the innocent tea growers during the DMK regime.In fact, June 7, 2001 would be celebrated as the victory day of small tea growers in the entire district. The DMK regime had wantonly refused to give the compensation of Rs.31 lakh recommended by Justice Rathinasamy of State Human Rights Commission to the affected youths and small tea growers who bore the brunt of police lathicharge. The DMK government had even pressurised the district administration to give only Rs. 10 lakh as compensation to the affected growers.
The growers refused to accept the lesser amount and sent a legal notice to the then Chief Secretary and District Collector with the help of former public prosecutor and district secretary of the AIADMK K Aandakrishnan demanding full compensation to the affected.
Meanwhile, the former union minister and Congress leader R Prabhu had come forward to help the growers in all possible ways. The former minister met the affected growers in person and consoled them.
However, the former DMK MLAs had not come forward to even console the tea growers who were tortured by police and made a great blunder by criticising the opposition even when the photos of Badaga youths had appeared with only their underwear in most of the newspapers.
The people heaved a sigh of relief only after the State Human Rights Commission and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda visited the district and started enquiring about the tea growers' problems.
The eight Badaga youths namely Sridharan (22), Babu (21), Premkumar (21), Kannan (21), Rajan (30), Pradhap (16), Rajesh (22) and Manivannan (22) would get Rs. 2 lakh each as per the recommendations of the SHRC and a number of the injured growers would also get adequate compensation from the Chief Minister on June 7.
The NHRC had recommended that the compensation should be given within a month from the date of December 30, 2000. The DMK government even held discussions with the affected persons stating that it was ready to reduce the compensation amount and disburse immediately. As the affected persons did not like any reduction in compensation, the DMK government went one step further and refused to withdraw the cases registered against the tea growers. The people of the Nilgiris taught a lesson to the DMK party in the recent Assembly elections for its wrongdoings.
The district AIADMK, Congress and TMC have made arrangements to take the affected persons to Chennai to receive the compensation from the Chief Minister on June 7. Udhagamandalam MLA HM Raju (Cong), Coonoor MLA K Kandasamy (TMC) and Gudalur MLA A Miller (AIADMK) will be present on the occasion.