The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister also announced a government welfare scheme worth Rs 4.53 crore to 282 persons belonging to the Narikuravar and Irula tribe in Chengalpattu district.

Tamil Nadu CM meets Ashwini, the Narikuravar woman who was refused food in a temple
news Welfare Thursday, November 04, 2021 - 13:47

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday, November 4, met Ashwini, the Narikuravar woman who was earlier refused the 'Annadhanam' served at a temple in Mamallapuram. After an invitation from Ashwini, CM Stalin also went to her home in Mamallapuram and spoke to her for some time. At an event held at Pooncheri near Mamallapuram, where Narikuravar and Irular people live, CM Stalin gave housing deeds to 81 people on Thursday as well. Orders to build Anganwadi and panchayat union schools and other developmental programmes, costing Rs 10 lakh, were also presented at the event. 

Meeting the Chief Minister, Ashwini presented him with a bead necklace and ‘ponnaadai’ shawls. Speaking at the event, she said, “Thanks to the Chief Minister, we have now got voter IDs, Aadhaar and family ration cards. This feels like a dream. We usually have to struggle for four months to get a ration card at the government offices, we got the card in two days directly from him. When I met Minister [Sekar Babu] I told him that we’ve been living here wondering daily if we will be evicted or not, now that we have the deeds, we don’t have that fear."

In Chengalpet, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister announced a government welfare scheme worth Rs 4.53 crore to 282 persons belonging to the Narikuravar and Irula tribe, and issued orders to carry out development projects worth Rs 10 lakh under the Municipal Public Fund Scheme. The CM also handed over housing bonds, family cards, voter ID cards, caste certificates, welfare board cards, training orders and bank loans to the 282 persons living in the Chengalpet district. In addition, the Chief Minister has also approved a city development plan proposal and has issued orders for the construction of anganwadi and classrooms in the district.

According to a statement from the government, 81 people were given housing deeds to the cost of Rs 3.52 crore, six people were given old-aged welfare schemes, 21 received ration identity cards, 18 recipients got voter IDs, 88 people from the Irular community received their Scheduled Caste certificate and 34 Narikuravar people got their Most Backwards Class (MBC) certificates.

Additionally, 12 people received a loan amount of Rs 1 lakh each under the MUDRA scheme and a loan amount of Rs 10,000 each to 33 people under the small business scheme, among other benefits.

CM Stalin also promised at the event that roads, electricity, drinking water and other such essentials will be provided to Pooncheri soon. 

This comes days after Tamil Nadu HR&CE (Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments) minister ate lunch with Ashwini in the same Sthalasayana Perumal temple that had earlier refused to serve her food. Ashwini ate the ‘Annadhanam’ or the ritual temple free meal with a child on her lap. She was flanked by the minister and the HR&CE Commissioner on either side. Other members of the Narikurava community (which Ashwini belongs to), who were also denied food, also sat with them and ate the meal. Apart from this, the Thiruporur MLA SS Balaji also ate lunch with the group.

The Annadhanam scheme, which offers free temple meals to the poor, was launched by the DMK government’s HR & CE department and is currently active in 754 places across Tamil Nadu. Ashwini had alleged discrimination under the scheme, and that she and members of her community were not allowed to enter the temple. A video of Ashwini visibly angry and lashing out at the discrimination had been shared widely.