Vol. XLI No. 42 October 15, 2017

Forum to Check Rise of Communal Forces in Tamil Nadu

G Udayakumar


PROMINENT personalities from various walks of life have come together and floated a secular platform to counter the growing menace of communal forces in Tamil Nadu.

The RSS-BJP combine is consciously utilising the religious divide between people to perpetuate its political purpose. The communal menace that was haunting other states in India is now rearing its ugly head in Tamil Nadu, in the backdrop of the recent unstable political developments in the state.

The AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu, caught between internal rivalry and corruption, is prostrating before the communal elements at the Centre and acting according to the whims and fancies of BJP leaders in the state. Temples, schools and caste-based organisations – every forum of the society is being intruded by these elements to spread their communal ideology.

To counter the growing menace of communal forces in the state, a secular platform, called Tamil Nadu Platform for People’s Unity, was launched on October 3 at Raja Annamalai Hall in Parry’s in Chennai. Hundreds of people attended the event and the hall was packed to its capacity.

The state-level platform was launched to create awareness among all sections of the society on the problems of religious fundamentalism and counter it through direct action. Speakers at the inaugural function spoke about the necessity of forming a platform to combat the onslaught of communal forces.

Speaking at the launch of the platform, former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said that those who have failed to address the problems of poverty and unemployment are trying to raise the issue of religious fundamentalism. Indians are poor, hard-working, but they are honest people. Money and violence are used to keep the poor in fear. We have to defeat violence and money power. Those who are poor and honest are intelligent too. They are secular by instinct. They cannot be frightened all the time. The fundamentalist forces, irrespective of their religion, are not enemies to each other, they are all in one club. We should be cautious, he said.

CITU leader A Soundararajan said that because of communalism, workers of other states and those working in other countries were affected very much. There is no law to protect migrant workers. Since the ruling party at the Centre has totally failed in governance, it is diverting people to communal agenda. The platform should work as an army to combat communalism.

Writer S Ramakrishnan said the target of fundamentalists was mainly to mislead the educated people in the country. He narrated a small story. The king of a country first ordered to kill all the black cats. The citizens obliged. Then he ordered to kill all black dogs. They are hesitant to kill their pet dogs. Instead they obtained certificates from officials by bribing them that their dogs are brown. When the king ordered to kill all the brown dogs, they realised the danger and protested against the king. Such was the state of affair in India. The government itself creating enmity among people on religious basis. Carnatic musician T M Krishna too addressed the gathering.

Frontline magazine editor R Vijaya Sankar said only one man is speaking in TV, radio and all other media. He is our prime minister. When he starts speaking, everyone gets horrified. On the killings of rationalist M M Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh, he said the same type of bullets were used in both murders and the same type of people masterminded them. They want to divide the people, we have nowhere to go but to unite.

Prof. Arunan, one of the coordinators, said Mahatma Gandhi was murdered for raising the voice of Hindu-Muslim unity. Thirty people were murdered over the meat issue. They want uniformity in all. But our country has diverse culture, religion and language.

G Udayakumar, the other coordinator, said the central government wants to repeal everything that was given in the preamble of the Constitution. To protect the people from the danger of communalism, the platform would do everything. He invited every section of the society to join hands with the platform for the noble cause.

At the beginning of the inaugural function, various cultural programmes were held. A drama, called ‘Place’, was enacted by Chennai Kalai Kuzhu-Pralayan. The drama depicted how the space in the country is open for different people having different faiths.

The patrons of the platform are N Ram (The Hindu), Vasanthi Devi (Former vice-chancellor of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University), T M Krishna (Carnatic Musician), N G R Prasad (Senior Advocate), S Ramakrishnan (Tamil Writer), M Rajendran (Former vice-chancellor of Tamil University), Rohini (Cine Artist), Dawood Miakhan (Educationalist) and Dr. Kamaraj.

The coordinators of the platform are Arunan and G Udayakumar.

The working committee members included EVKS Elangovan (Congress), P Sampath (CPI-M), Peter Alphonse (Congress), M Subramaninan (DMK), Tamilan Prasanna (DMK), Arul Mozhi (DK), Sha Navas (VCK) and Muthukannan. A general council consisting of 60 members from different fields were announced.

Earlier, similar platforms for combating communalism were formed in different names in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Dharmapuri, Villupuram and other districts. The platforms at the state and district levels would chalk out plans to carry forward the struggle against the communalist forces in the state.