Friday, July 1, 2011

[ZESTCaste] “Melavalavu massacre, a milestone for Dalit movement”

MADURAI, June 30, 2011
"Melavalavu massacre, a milestone for Dalit movement"
Staff Reporter

The gruesome murder of six Dalits in broad daylight was a scar on the
history of oppressed classes in Tamil Nadu. It was carried out at a
time when the Dalits had been welcoming local self governance that
provided them space for empowerment at the grassroots, said
Thol.Thirumavalavan, MP, and president, Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal

Addressing the cadres who had gathered in thousands at Melavalavu near
Melur in Madurai district on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of
'Melavalavu Massacre' on Thursday, he said that the sacrifice made by
Murugesan and other Dalits in the face of various atrocities were
important for the Dalit movement as they were made to claim lost
rights. They lost their lives in the battle to uphold basic democratic
and political rights and give shape to the dreams of Dr. Ambedkar. "We
take oath here every year to ensure that we are on the track to
organise the oppressed and fight for their political rights."

"Our everyday life is to toil for others; work for the economic uplift
of others; announce death; dig up graves etc since none is there to
voice our concerns. Leaders talk about French Revolution and Russian
Revolution. There are people who speak about animal rights but none to
speak for Dalits. And it was Dr.Ambedkar who gave face for these
faceless people," he said.

Mr. Thirumavalavan said that they should thank late Chief Minister M.
G. Ramachandran for doing away with Village Karnam/Munsiff posts and
bringing in the post of Village Administrative Officer. It changed the
power equations in the village and provided a chance for landless
Dalits to become VAOs.

Panchayati Raj system gave Dalits a chance to share power at the
grassroots and this shook the foundation of power which was always
with the dominant castes.

At Melavalavu, unmindful of threats from the dominant castes,
Murugesan contested the election with the support of VCK and won. But
he was murdered along with five others while travelling in a bus.

The VCK leader also remembered the sacrifice of two Dalits at
Sennagarampatti who died fighting for land rights.

He wanted the government to stop giving freebies and instead provide
free education. Education stood as the most commoditised service and
it should be made free. The government should close all TASMAC-run
liquor shops as drinking habit was affecting working classes,
especially the Dalits.

Earlier he paid floral tributes at the 'Viduthalai Kalam' memorial,
gave dress materials to members of the families of victims, christened
a dozen babies in chaste Tamil names and conducted an anti-caste

He also said that the party would start a television channel and have
its new headquarters in Chennai.

Cadres of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), led by A,. Lazar and
R. Annadurai, MLAs, and members of Tamil Nadu Untouchability
Eradication Front, including K. Samuel Raj, general secretary, paid
tributes at the memorial.


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