Chennai, March 23: DMK president MK Stalin on Monday claimed that the AIADMK and the BJP have a “clandestine relationship” with Sterlite Copper [Vedanta] and therefore were instrumental in the police firing on 13 anti-Sterlite protesters in Thoothukudi in May 2018. He urged the electorate to deliver an “unforgettable and crushing defeat” to the AIADMK-BJP alliance in the upcoming Assembly polls.
Mr Stalin also urged the people of Thoothukudi district to render justice to the Sattankulam family that lost two of its members – trader Jayaraj and his son Benicks – to police brutality.
Canvassing votes for the DMK-led alliance candidates fielded in six Assembly constituencies in the district, Mr. Stalin said the anti-Sterlite protesters, who were staging a peaceful agitation against the “destructive copper smelter” unit, took out a march towards the Collectorate to submit a petition to the Collector on the 100th day of their agitation seeking permanent closure of the copper manufacturing unit. The Collector, who should have been in the Collectorate to receive the petition, moved to an inaccessible place even as the AIADMK’s State government and the BJP’s Central government “hunted down” the protesters like birds “as these parties had a secret relationship with Sterlite Copper,” he alleged.
“While the kin of these 13 victims were not given government employment commensurate with their educational qualification, the CBI, which is probing this gruesome incident, has not made any headway due to the BJP’s intervention. The Justice Aruna Jegadeesan Commission, formed by the State Government to probe the killing of the protesters in the police firing, has not submitted its report even after two-and-a-half years. This is because of the relationship the BJP and the AIADMK have with Sterlite Copper,” the DMK leader alleged. “Hence, the murderers should be taught a fitting lesson in the upcoming Assembly polls,” Mr. Stalin appealed.
Raising the case of the gruesome killing of trader Jayaraj and Benicks due to police brutality, the DMK leader alleged that the hair on the chest of Benicks had been plucked during police torture and the blood-soaked shirts and lungis of the father and the son had to be replaced as Jayaraj’s wife had to give them fresh clothes as mandated by the police.
“Even as the police started their investigation, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami certified that Jayaraj and Benicks died of breathing problems due to the injuries they had sustained when they rolled on the ground to avert their arrest. And, the First Information Report filed by the police fabricated a story to match the Chief Minister’s theory. And, Minister Kadambur C. Raju said it was not a custodial death as they died only in the hospital. Jayalalithaa too died in the hospital, but why did you institute a judicial commission to unravel the mystery behind her death? People should understand this and teach the AIADMK a fitting lesson and render justice to the bereaved family,” said Mr. Stalin.
The DMK president came down heavily on Mr. Raju, alleging that the Minister had amassed ill-gotten wealth with which he could create a new town similar to Kovilpatti. “Without doing anything good for the people of Kovilpatti constituency, Mr. Raju is heaping encomiums on the Chief Minister, which is his full-time job. Minutes before the notification for the Assembly polls, he laid the foundation stone for a nursing college to hoodwink the people. The Kovilpatti voters should ensure that Mr. Raju loses his deposit in this election for having done nothing for them over the past 10 years despite getting their votes,” Mr. Stalin said. He appealed to them to vote for CPI (M) candidate K. Srinivasan
The DMK chief promised to provide a permanent solution for the residents’ water-logging woes during downpours and create a truck terminal to accommodate the lorries coming to the port town.
Upgrading of government hospitals at Ottapidaaram, Kayathar, Kovilpatti, Tiruchendur and Kaayalpattinam, the establishment of nursing college in Nazareth and a government arts and science college at Kazhugumalai, supply of raw material for match industries through SIDCO, taking surplus water of Tamirabharani up to Puththan Tharuvai via Karumaeniyar, a separate welfare board for saltpan workers, regularisation of services of contract labourers of Tuticorin Thermal Power Station, an industrial estate at Ottapidaaram and Deivaseyalpuram through SIDCO etc. were some of the promises made by him during his campaign.