'Tenkasi untouchability incident a failure of DMK government': OPS

The state government has failed to generate awareness among school children about the importance of remaining united, OPS said.
O Paneerselvam
O Paneerselvam
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Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS), on Monday, September 19, said that the untouchability incident in Tamil Nadu's Tenkasi district has brought to fore the failure of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government. In a statement on Monday, OPS said that even though untouchability has been eradicated legally, there have been stray incidents in some areas of the state due to indifference of the DMK government.

A shopkeeper in Panjankulam village in Tenkasi had refused to give snacks and candies to the children from Scheduled Castes leading to a major uproar. The shopkeeper Maheswaran and the president of the panchayat Ramachandran were arrested and remanded in judicial custody under the SC/ST (Atrocities Prevention) Act. Following the incident, the police invoked an externment provision of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the two, prohibiting them from entering the village of Panchakulam, where the incident occured.

OPS said that the state government has failed to generate awareness among school children about the importance of remaining united. He added that it was the duty of the government to arrange meetings of elders in these areas to stress the importance of unity. The former chief coordinator of AIADMK called upon Chief Minister MK Stalin to pay special attention to this matter and provide necessary directions to the state school education department on the importance of unity among children.

“It is shocking and saddening to hear school children in Tekasi saying that untouchability is practiced in schools that teach “Pirappokkum ella uyirkkum" (roughly means all beings are same at birth). If such incidents are not dealt with immediately, caste conflicts will spread throughout Tamil Nadu. I urge the Hon'ble Chief Minister @CMOTamilnadu to take appropriate legal action against the wrongdoers and give appropriate advice to the school education authorities to ensure that such incidents do not occur and create a safe environment for the children,” he said in his tweet.

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