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Diffabled Activists Brave Rain and Cold, Launch Fast Unto Death for Prohibition

The group led by TMN Deepak, a prominent diffabled activist, was arrested and taken to a small hall, which had poor toilet facilities, in Royappetah.

Published: 06th August 2015 03:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th August 2015 03:13 AM   |  A+A-

VAIKO

CHENNAI: A day after 50 differently-abled activists started a little-noticed protest at the Labour statue on Marina beach, a number of opposition leaders on Wednesday landed on the narrow lane leading to the Press Club in Chepauk.

The group led by TMN Deepak, a prominent diffabled activist, was arrested and taken to a small hall, which had poor toilet facilities, in Royappetah on Tuesday. When the photos went viral on WhatsApp and other platforms, police promised to take them to a better place. “We were told that the toilet facilities would be better there and it would be spacious. However, in the evening, we were dropped at Chepauk,” says one of the 11 women in the group. Then and there, the group decided to launch a fast unto death, demanding total prohibition in the State.

Making matters worse, it began to rain cats and dogs later in the night on Tuesday. “A few students from Madras University scrambled to put a small tent, but it wasn’t enough to save us from getting drenched completely. We didn’t budge though,” says Deepak.

Late at night, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol Thirumavalavan arrived at the spot and offered a proper tent under which the members sat. On Wednesday morning, DMDK leader Vijayakant came with around 60 blankets and towels, which were distributed among the protesters.

After him, CPM State secretary G Ramakrishnan, AIDWA leader U Vasuki, Vaiko of MDMK, Seeman of Naam Tamizhar Katchi and a group of advocates visited the agitators to lend their support. In the meanwhile, two of them who fainted were taken to the Royappetah General Hospital, said Deepak. “We will not budge until the government initiates at least some kind of talks with us. We want complete prohibition in the State,” he added.

do not have Stake in liquor business, asserts baalu

dmkk.JPGTerming reports in a section of the media about his  ownership of distilleries ‘baseless’, former Union minister TR Baalu on Wednesday asserted that he neither owned one nor had a share in any such business. “No distillery functions in my name or the names of my family members. We do not have share in any distillery. The media should not publish such baseless reports,” Baalu told reporters after meeting DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence. Baalu said at a time when agitations demanding prohibition were intensifying, there were some reports claiming that he was running distilleries. “Our leader sought an explanation from me and former minister Jagatratchagan. We explained the real situation to him,” he said. Immediately after Karunanidhi announced that the DMK would enforce prohibition if voted to power, parties opposed to the DMK had accused top leaders of the DMK like Baalu and Jagatratchagan of owning distilleries. Criticisms against the two leaders grew louder when Baalu was appointed as the coordinator of the DMK’s panel for drafting the election manifesto for the forthcoming Assembly elections. 

DMK Only Deferred Prohibition, Claims Karunanidhi

dmk.JPGDMK chief M Karunanidhi on Wednesday recalled the circumstances under which he temporarily lifted prohibition in 1971 and asked the government to understand people’s sentiments now and enforce the policy again. “We announced that the DMK will enforce prohibition if elected to power. With protests for its immediate implementation intensifying, bringing back prohibition will only be prudent,” he wrote in the party organ, Murasoli. Prohibition was deferred by his government due to the then prevailing tough financial situation. Though liquor shops were opened in 1971, the DMK government closed them in 1974. Even in 1937, when former CM C Rajagopalachari introduced prohibition, it was in place only in four of the 25 districts and even that was lifted in 1939 and brought back in 1948, he recalled. Hitting out at PMK founder S Ramadoss for his remarks that he (Karunanidhi) had attained wisdom on prohibition after 44 years, he asked, “Ramadoss had formed alliance with both the DMK and AIADMK in many elections. Did he insist on prohibition as a condition for the alliance?”



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