Support for Umashankar irks state
August 11th, 2010
Aug. 10: The growing support for suspended IAS officer C. Umashankar from several dalit outfits and political parties, accusing the DMK government of victimising an honest dalit officer for acting against influential people, is causing huge discomfort for the ruling party when elections are just round the corner. Dalits constitute over 20 per cent of the state electorate.
One after another, several dalit outfits and intelligentsia across Tamil Nadu have been holding protest rallies in support of Mr Umashankar and accusing the government of being vindictive because he had openly challenged some corrupt practices of influential people.
Senior political leaders, including CPI veteran R. Nallakannu, CPI (M) state secretary G. Ramakrishnan and veteran Gandhian Tamilaruvi Manian will share a pro-Umashankar platform in Chennai on Thursday.
Ridiculing the government’s justification for the suspension, former IAS officer P. Sivakami, a popular dalit activist, said, “Umashankar’s father is a dalit pallar and all his siblings are dalits. Where does the question of producing a false SC certificate arise? Did the government suspend the many other officers against whom similar charge of using fake SC certificate was levelled? Some of them are now in prominent posts.” VCK general secretary D. Ravikumar, MLA, demanded that the suspension be revoked and Mr Umashankar reinstated.
AIADMK general secretary J. Jayalalithaa has slammed the government on the Umashankar issue and demanded to know why the chief minister was silent on some of the crucial allegations made by the officer, such as the functioning of the joint-venture Elnet and the government cable TV corporation. Literary magazine Dalit Murasu has come out with an editorial accusing Karunanidhi of being ‘a bundle of contradictions’ in punishing a dalit officer because he claimed SC reservation even after conversion to Christianity, but at the same time demanding the Centre to open SC quotas to dalit Christians .
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