(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 19, 2012
Tribal Conference Salutes Vaachathi People
S P Rajendran
EVEN after many months of the judgement in Vaachathi case, pronounced by the Dharmapuri court, the victims are yet to get compensation from the Tamilnadu government. It is absolutely shameful and outrageous, said Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Speaking to reporters at Dharmapuri on the sidelines of the sixth state conference of the Tamilnadu Tribal Association (TNTA), she said that “both the Dravidian parties — the DMK and the AIADMK — had not been on the side of the victims, but they have been unfortunately on the side of those who had sought to cover up this case.” The government is spending crores of rupees for several schemes, but continues to deny compensation to the Vaachathi victims.
The government is keen to protect those who are responsible for the crime and is also covering up this crime which had taken place 20 years ago at Vaachathi, a tiny tribal village in Dharmapuri district of Tamilnadu. At that time, a huge team of forest officials and armed policemen entered and vandalised the entire village and unleashed inhumane atrocities including gang rape against the hapless tribal people.
The message of the government is that nothing would happen even if the Vaachathi victims fight for 20 years to get justice from a court of law, because the government is powerful, and hence fighting against it would prove futile, Brinda said. But, she said, the message of the CPI(M) is that its stand has proved correct by every single enquiry and therefore the party would go on fighting. For, it is not a question of money but of dignity. It is shameful on the part of the Tamilnadu government that it has been found standing by the culprits, she added.
Tamilnadu was once a symbol of social reforms in defence of marginalised communities. “What was the social reform led by the Thanthai Periyar? What was the value for Periyar’s movement? It was to defend the rights of the marginalised communities. But today, the government speaks in a name of Dravidian culture while exploiting the most marginalised and vulnerable tribal communities,” Brinda said.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) salutes the people of Vaachathi who have sent a message to not only the tribal people of Tamilnadu but to the entire tribal people living in the country that “do not compromise injustice,” she added.
also demanded that a credible commission
of enquiry must investigate the atrocities meted out to the
issue of Tamils in
The party also demands that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre should take immediate initiative and have a clear vision on the issue. There must not be any oscillation on its part, as it will not help in this situation, she added.
The main issue here is how to look at the problem and how to approach it politically.
The sixth conference of the Tamilnadu Tribal Association (TNTA) started with a huge rally of tribal people at Dharmapuri on August 11. The rally ended with an emotion-choked public meeting where Brinda Karat, K Varadharajan (general secretary, AIKS) and Jitendra Chowdry (tribal welfare minister, Tripura) were the main speakers. TNTA president P Shanmugam presided.
Addressing the public meeting Brinda Karat said the union government and the Tamilnadu government do not bother about the welfare of the tribal people, as they have failed to recognise the 36 tribal communities living in the state as tribal people. The Kurumbars, Malayalis, Kuravas and Narikuravas and other tribal communities continue to be denied the status of tribal people, thus, also the welfare measures.
Brinda took a shot at the UPA government by saying that it is interested in pro-corporate ‘reforms’ and has never shown interest in fulfilling the minimum needs of the marginalised people living in forest and hilly areas. She welcomed the initiative of the Tamilnadu government for its free supply of 20 kg of rice for ration cardholders but said it was not sufficient to run a family and hence the quantum of rice should be increased to at least 35 kg per month.
sarcastically accused the centre of storing
foodgrains in Food Corporation of
Jitendra Chowdry inaugurated the conference while the TNTA vice president Chinnamuthu hoisted its flag.
The conference adopted several resolutions including one to demand early disbursement of the relief fund according to the court order for Vaachathi victims. It talked of continuing the struggle for the cause of the tribal people.
conference elected P Shanmugam as president,