TN: Beef-Sale ban Persists in Puliampatti Weekly Market; Is This Dravidian Model?
Protest to resume beef sale in Puliyampatti weekly market. Image courtesy: P Shanmugam
Chennai: Four months ago, without any prior notice, the Puliyampatti municipality banned and razed beef stalls run by people of the Arunththiyar scheduled caste community at the weekly market. The families have run the stalls for 50-long years, and they were removed overnight by the DMK-led municipal administration.
Condemning the ban, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) had talks with the administration and held many protests. Yet, the administration is dragging the process of allocating space for beef stalls.
The CPI(M) and TNUEF commenced an indefinite sit-in-protest at the municipal office on April 11 in this regard.
The protestors have been seeking permission to run beef shops in the same place. They also demanded action against P A Chidambaram, DMK District Secretary and Municipal Vice Chairman. They accused him of caste-based discrimination and arrogance of power, and demanded he is removed from elected office.
‘CM HAS NOT INTERVENED’
The district police had put up barricades to block the protestors from entering the municipal office complex. The protesters broke the barricades, entered the complex, sat inside, and held the protest.
CPI(M) central committee member P Shanmugam was present at the protest. He was injured in a tussle with the police.
“We have been approaching this issue calmly over the past four months. We participated in all the negotiations held by the Commissioner. We have approached many people seeking their intervention for a peaceful resolution to the problem. Yet, even after taking the issue to the Chief Minister, there has been no solution,” said Shanmugam speaking to media persons.
“We would like to bring to the attention of the state government that the livelihood of the scheduled caste people has been severely affected. They are suffering and are upset with the government,” he said.
‘BOOK THEM UNDER ATROCITIES ACT
Because the meat sellers were not provided with prior notice before eviction, CPI(M) and TNUEF demanded that all involved be booked and arrested under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
“If beef shops should not be run where other meat is sold, what else is it but caste-based discrimination? This cannot be accepted. Give permission to run shops in the same location,” said Shanmugam.
“Why is the DMK Municipality Vice Chairperson Chidambaram running the Aryan model of government in Tamil Nadu? Where is the Dravidian model of government ruling?” asked Shanmugam.
The protesters demanded that six acres, out of the total 26-acre market, be allotted to the scheduled caste people.
‘AGENDA FOR SLAUGHTERHOUSE’
The sit-in protest inside the municipal complex went on till 9 pm. It was called off after the commissioner assured the agenda of building a slaughterhouse will be discussed in the meeting of municipal office-bearers on April 13.
“I saw the agenda listed as part of the meeting. However, even if it is passed, the administration will drag the building of the slaughterhouse for at least a year,” said U K Sivagnanam, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) state committee member, while speaking to NewsClick.
“We demanded that meanwhile a make-shift shelter should be provided for beef sale. The commissioner has included it in the agenda,” he said.
The victims are bent on resuming the protests if their demands are not met.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.