Vanchinathan remembered, another section pay respect to Robert Ashe

Vanchinathan was part of an outfit which aimed to free India from the British.Historians say Ashe had a major role in curtailing VO Chidambaram Pillai’s swadeshi steam navigation company
 Activists garlanding the portrait of Vanchinathan at Vanchi maniy
Activists garlanding the portrait of Vanchinathan at Vanchi maniyPhoto | Express

THOOTHUKUDI: Activists observed the 113th death anniversary of freedom fighter Vanchinthan, who shot dead British Collector Robert Ashe at Maniyachi railway station in Thoothukudi. Meanwhile, a section of Dravidian and Scheduled Caste outfits celebrated Ashe for his works against ‘Sanatana Dharma’, and put up his posters across Tirunelveli town.

Vanchinathan was born to Rajapathy Iyer and Rukmani in 1886, and was part of an outfit which aimed to free India from the British. On June 17, 1911, Vanchinathan boarded the train in which Ashe was travelling in and shot him dead. Vanchinathan later died by suicide after some hours on the station premises. The Maniyachi railway station was later renamed Vanchi Maniyachi Junction railway station. Historians say Ashe had a major role in curtailing VO Chidambaram Pillai’s swadeshi steam navigation company, which was launched to subdue the British’s economic influence.

Ottapidaram Union Chairman Ramesh, Kollankinaru Panchayat President Latha Murugan, Maniyachi Panchayat President Prema Murugan, Village Administration Officer Selvi and other activists honoured the freedom fighter at the Vanchi Maniyachi railway station on Monday.
Similarly, India Kalachara Natupura Kazhagam State Secretary K Tamilarasan and party members paid floral tributes to his portrait at Kovilpatti.

Meanwhile, members of Dravida Tamilar Katchi (DTK) and other scheduled caste forums conducted an anti-Sanatana rally from John’s College to CSI church cemetery in Tirunelveli. They aimed to highlight the efforts of Ashe against the propagation of Sanatana Dharma in the erstwhile Tirunelveli district. The party cadre garlanded Ashe’s grave.

DTK Finance Secretary SK Sankar claimed that the reforms introduced by Ashe ensured Scheduled Caste people walk along general roads and the right to bathe in the Courtallam. He added that Ashe worked towards providing education rights for the poor by breaking discriminatory social norms. “The suicide note found in Vanchinathan’s pocket after his death at the Maniyachi railway station is proof that he killed Ashe for his anti-Sanatana reforms, and is not in anyway connected to the freedom struggle,” Sankar said.

Notably, a manimandapam for Robert Ashe is located near the sub-collector’s office in Thoothukudi, and a memorial building at the Deaf and Dumb School in Tirunelveli to commemorate his services.

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