TN this week: NCPCR, BJP claim religious conversion, state finds no merit in it

Chennai: A 20-year-old B. Tech student at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras ended his life by hanging himself in his hostel room on September 15. In 2019, Fathima Latheef, student at IIT-M too deceased by suicide. The incident had stimulated a movement against institutional harassment.

In a new criminal case, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department (DVAC) on September 12 Reserve All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) MLA SP Velumani for allegedly abusing his position and awarding tenders to his associates while he was Minister of Municipal Administration. The agency said it caused a loss of up to Rs 500 crore to the state.

In another case, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tamil Nadu deposit a September 13 complaint against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP A Raja for making statements at an event that allegedly denounced Hindus and thereby attempted to incite communal riots.

During the week, the police picked up Tamil journalist Savitri Kannan from his home in Chennai on September 11 for his article claiming a flawed investigation into the death of the Kallakurichi student. The journalist said his arrest was an attack on freedom of the press.

In addition, 18 cases of rabies deaths were reported in Tamil Nadu in just eight months, from January to August this year. The authorities described the situation as worrying.

NewsClick brings you a roundup of this week’s events in Tamil Nadu.

AIADMK PROTESTS HIKE IN POWER TARIFFS

Tamil Nadu’s main opposition party AIADMK on September 16 staging a statewide agitation against the increase in the electricity tariff by the ruling DMK government. They urged the state government to reverse the hike.

Speaking at the protest in Chengalpattu, Opposition Leader and AIADMK Acting General Secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami called Chief Minister Stalin a ‘vasool mannan‘ (king of the collection). He also mentioned the recent increase in property taxes.

In addition, more than one million machine weaving units in Coimbatore and part of Tiruppur district continued indefinite strike of September 16 opposing the increase in electricity prices. The Federation of Tamil Nadu Loom Unit Owners Association has ruled that loom units across the state will not pay the revised tariff.

LAUNCH OF THE BREAKFAST PROGRAM

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin launched the breakfast program for public school students from class I to VI in Madurai on September 15.

Stalin said the program would bring about beneficial changes in the lives of the poor. Read more

ANOTHER CONVERSION LINE

After a preliminary investigation, a team of state government officials on September 13 said they had found no merit in the State Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights (TNCPCR) allegation forced conversion at CSI Monahan School Girls Hostel in Royapettah, Chennai.

Subsequently, the Chairman of the TNCPCR met with the Governor of the State, RN Ravi, and handed over a report based on their inspection of the school.

In particular, the chairman and members of the TNCPCR are involved in a tussle with the DMK over a government order nullifying their appointment to the Commission panel, which was suspended by the Madras High Court in March.

Meanwhile, S Peter Alphonse, Chairman of the State Minorities Commission on September 14, declared that false accusations of conversion are propagated. He said, “The TNCPCR is a statutory body. Its president was appointed by the previous government (AIADMK). One has the impression that the commission acts with an ulterior motive”.

The NCPCR summoned Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu V Irai Anbu on September 20 to explain the delay in submitting a report on the allegation.

NARIKURAVAR, KURUVIKARAN AT ST LIST

The Narikoravar and Kuruvikaran communities are to be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST) of Tamil Nadu.

The Union Cabinet approved a bill to make certain amendments to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes Order, 1950) to alter the list of state STs.

SAVUKKU CAN BE PRISONED

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court found YouTuber and whistleblower Savukku Shankar in contempt of court for remarks that ‘the entire judicial system is riddled with corruption’ and sentenced him to six months in jail. The bench of Judges GR Swaminathan and B Pugalendhi found that Shankar had numerous contempt cases against him, but he showed no remorse.

In its statement regarding the verdict, the anti-corruption organization Arappor Iyakkam stressed that Savukku Shankar’s sentencing “will have a chilling effect on ordinary citizens who voice their grievances regarding the functioning and the justice system”.

RESTORATION NAMED AFTER PERIYAR ATTACK

A restaurant named after social reformer Thanthai Periyar was vandalized by a group of men near Karamadai in Coimbatore district on 13 September. The owner of the hotel, which was attacked, blamed the Munnani Hindu workers.

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