CHENNAI: Ahead of the elections to rural local bodies in nine districts, Chief Minister MK Stalin announced in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday that a memorial would be raised in Villupuram district in honour of the 21 persons who lost their lives during the agitations for reservations for the Vanniyar community.
Leaders of the alliance partners of the DMK in the House welcomed the announcement and the Congress floor leader K Selvaperunthagai went one step ahead by wooing the PMK to the alliance led by the DMK.
Selvaperunthagai recalled that PMK founder S Ramadoss organised a social justice conference in 1989 thanking the then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for giving 20 percent reservation to MBCs and he was honoured with a yellow shawl. The 21 persons belonging to the PMK who struggled for this reservation were killed in police firing during the AIADMK regime.
“But the PMK aligned with the AIADMK in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. I pointed out this irony to the PMK founder then. Now, the DMK government which has been protecting your community is ruling the state. I appeal to the PMK founder to reconsider your (alliance) by pondering over who had stood by you in the past,” Selvaperunthagai added. However, the PMK leaders present in the House did not respond.
Making the announcement on the memorial to be raised for 21 persons killed in the 1987 agitations, the Chief Minister said raising this memorial was his promise made during the byelection to Vikravandi Assembly constituency. "Many have forgotten this promise. But I have not," he added.
Referring to demands of PMK floor leader GK Mani and T Velmurugan, the Chief Minister said already, during the previous DMK regime, Rs 3 lakh was given to the families of these 21 persons and also Rs 3,000 per month has been given to their families as pension. Now, their family members would be given employment in government organisations in accordance with their educational qualifications.
Recalling the contributions of the Dravidian movement in the struggle for social justice, the Chief Minister said the history of the past five decades had registered the fact that the Dravidian movement had ensured appropriate reservation for BCs and SC/STs. In 1987, protests were held in northern Tamil Nadu seeking 20 percent reservation and rendering justice to their struggle, the then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in 1989 provided 20 percent reservation for MBCs, he said.