Memorial for 21 killed in 1987 Vanniyar quota stir

Soon after Stalin’s announcement, Cong asks PMK to join DMK-led alliance, tells it to remember who ‘stood by Vanniyars’ in the past

Published: 03rd September 2021 04:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd September 2021 04:21 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The House witnessed a dramatic political overture on Thursday with Congress floor leader K Selvaperunthagai hinting that the PMK should board the DMK-led alliance. The remark came soon after Chief Minister MK Stalin announced in the Assembly that a memorial would be built in honour of the 21 people who lost their lives during the 1987 Vanniyar quota protests. That local-body polls are round the corner adds to its significance. 

It may be recalled that the PMK contested the Assembly polls in alliance with the AIADMK. Though critical of the AIADMK government, the party’s leaders had cited the internal reservations created for Vanniyars by that government, for retaining the alliance. Soon after coming to power, the DMK went ahead with implementing the special reservation. And, in response, the PMK went soft on the DMK government.

It was in this backdrop that Stalin announced the memorial, to be built in Villupuram district, on Thursday. “Many have forgotten this promise. But I have not,” he said, referring to his assurance made during the bypoll to Vikravandi constituency. He also referred to the demands of PMK floor leader GK Mani and said the previous DMK government had already given Rs 3 lakh each to the families of these 21 persons killed in the 1987 agitations and Rs 3,000 a month as pension.

It was the DMK government that created the special quota for Most Backward Classes, to which the Vanniyar community is a beneficiary, in 1989.   A while later, Congress leader Selvaperunthagai recalled that PMK founder S Ramadoss organised a social-justice conference in 1989 wherein he thanked the then CM M Karunanidhi for creating the new quota. The 21 persons were killed in a police firing that took place during the AIADMK government of the time.

Selvaperunthagai said: “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, pondering who stood by you in the past.” PMK MLAs, however, did not respond to Selvaperunthagai’s remarks.


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