The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board’s proposal to clear a part of the burial ground at Moolakothalam in Chennai has faced stiff opposition from various political parties in the State.
On Tuesday, opposition parties led by MDMK chief Vaiko along with CPI state secretary R Mutharasan, Dravidar Kazhagam president K Veeramani, VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan and others staged a protest in front of the Chennai Collectorate against the decision to clear the burial ground.
“The government wants to clear slum dwellers and relocate them. Some of them have demanded that they will not move to the outskirts of the city and hence the board is looking to clear the burial ground and build apartment complexes in its place,” VCK General Secretary Ravikumar told TNM.
Alleging that the government’s decision is influenced by real estate owners, who want to do away with the burial ground in order to make way for apartment complexes, Ravikumar said “There are 42 acres that have been marked for the burial ground. However, out of this only 11 acres have been used. The apartments can be built around this, but the government wants to clear out the entire burial ground instead as real estate agents around the area want to do away with the ground. This is why we are protesting,”
The 120-year-old burial ground is a historical site as it is the final resting place of renowned anti-Hindi agitation leaders such as Thalamuthu and Natarajan. Further, a memorial for social justice reformer Dharmambal was erected in the ground.
Stating that the grounds were a symbol of the century’s long sacrifices made for Tamils, Vaiko along with the other leaders questioned the move to wipe out the ground.
“The government has allotted Rs 50 crores of public money to build a memorial for late CM Jayalalithaa. However, when it comes to other martyrs of Tamil Nadu, the government is merely complacent,” said Ravikumar.