SALEM:Eight days after his death, anti-liquor activist Sasi Perumal’s body was laid to rest in his native village, E.Metukkadu, here on Friday. Hundreds of political functionaries, civil society activists and general public paid their last respects before the body was buried in front of his house.
Sasi Perumal’s eldest son Vivek, relatives and social activists who were on a hunger strike ever since his death demanding an announcement from the State government on implementing prohibition, ended their fast after the last rites. As per discussions the six party front Makkal Nalanukaana Kootu Iyakam had with the family members, a memorial will be built for the Gandhian activist. Vaiko, who leads the front, handed over `5 lakh collected from the constituent parties to the family but since they refused, donated it for towards building the memorial.
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The cremation was virtually hijacked by star leaders Vaiko, VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, CPM’s G.Ramakrishnan and Thamimun Ansari of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi who relegated members of Sasi Perumal’s Desiya Makkal Kootamaippu to the background and organised the final rites, right from crowd management to moderating condolence speeches.
Earlier, around 10.30 am, Sasi Perumal’s body was brought from Asaripallam in Kanyakumari by his younger brother and son Navaneethan, accompanied by Vaiko. Once the hearse van entered the city limits, police objected to the body being taken around in a procession saying it was school time. Vaiko assured police officials that they would ensure discipline and cautioned that preventing them would trigger unrest. Following this, police relented and allowed the body to be taken in a procession. Thirumavalavan, Ansari, leaders of IUML, CPI and CPM took part.
Sasi Perumal’s supporters and his son Vivek have announced that they would continue his struggle till the government makes an announcement on prohibition.
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders gave an unanimous call for total and immediate prohibition as against the gradual prohibition stand taken by some parties and anti-liquor campaigners.
Delivering condolence speech during the last rites of Sasi Perumal on Friday, MDMK general secretary Vaiko said, “Partial prohibition will only promote black market.”
Calling for a sustained struggle against liquor, Vaiko said the proposed memorial to be built for Sasi Perumal will only be built after ensuring total prohibition in the state.
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) founder Thol Thirumavalavan said that Sasi Perumal’s struggle will be continued with vigour and concern.
He clarified to Sasi Perumal’s supporters and activists not to feel that the opposition parties have sabotaged their indefinite fast.