Casteism gets a kick start at conference

TIRUCHI:Casteism under the new regime got a kick start when the Government organised a State level function to honour King Perumpidugu Mutharayar here on Thursday.As expected, the three State Ministers S S Thirunavukarasu (Information), R Saroja (Dairy and BC Welfare) and A Venketachalam (Tourism) spent more time in singing paeans of their `Amma', Chief Minister Jayalalitha than talking about the King. Needless to say, the MLAs followed suit faithfully.

For newsmen, the only point worth noting was when Venketachalam said that a GO issued in 1991 by the Jayalalitha Government bringing all 27 sub-castes in the Mutharayar community under the MBC category was not implemented by the Karunanidhi Government, except in Pudukottai district.

When he asked Karunanidhi about this, the latter instead of implementing the GO, only sought a promise that it would not be taken to court. The Minister said that the current regime would implement the GO expeditiously.

All the MLAs had teething problems when speaking since this was the first official function in which most of them were participating. That this was purely a community show was seen from Minister Saroja's disclosure that six elected representatives on the dais, including Minister Venketachalam belonged to the Mutharayar community.

Also community MLAs Vijayabhaskar (Pudukottai), Radhakrishnan (Tirumayam) and Karupayee (Kolathur), all from Pudukottai district, appeared on stage when the meeting was in progress.When the names of Musiri (Mallika Chinnasamy), Srirangam (K K Balasubramaniam) and Lalgudi (S N Balan) MLAs were announced, it was received with whistles and loud applause, the loudest being for the Lalgudi representative, who defeated former Food Minister K N Nehru.

The community was up in arms against Nehru, specially because he and his cohorts had beaten up a community man and a DMK functionary Marudamuthu after a district DMK party workers meeting in Tiruchi some months ago.Venkatachalam also had a dig at the DMK when looking at the crowd in the National College Council grounds, the meeting venue, he said, this crowd was the opposite of small crowds drawn by the DMK at their meetings which were usually held in marriage halls and chatrams.

The two DMK MLAs Anbil Periasamy from Tiruchi 2, B Baranikumar from Tiruchi 1 and K N Sekar (DMK) were conspicuous by their absence.Earlier, the Ministers garlanded the statue of Perumpidigu Mutharayar at Cantonment. It may be recalled that the statue was erected by Jayalalitha during her earlier tenure as Chief Minister. Her practice of naming districts and transport corporations after community leaders resulted in caste clashes in the southern districts following which the DMK regime removed such names from districts and corporations and instead created endowments in their names in TN universities.

Endowments were thus created in the names of Mutharayar, Veeran Alagumuthu Kone and Dheeran Chinnmalai in Tiruchi Bharathidasan University with the State Government providing Rs 25 lakh for each endowment.While Tiruchi MP Dalit Ezhilmalai exhorted people to emulate Perumpidugu, the latter though recorded in history as a minor king was dubbed `Emperor' (Perarasar) by speakers.The only officials present at the meeting were Collector V Murthy who welcomed the gathering and Information Department Deputy Director (memorials) N Annamalai who proposed a vote of thanks.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: June 11, 2001
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