The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) cannot compare its policies with those of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), State secretary of the CPI (M) G. Ramakrishnan said here on Friday at a meeting organised to felicitate lawyers who had appeared for the victims of the Vachathi incident.
Referring to a comparison reportedly made by DMK president and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Mr. Ramakrishnan said the CPI (M) fought for the rights of the downtrodden, but the officials accused of involvement in the Vachathi incident had come out of the prison within a few days of their arrest during the DMK rule.
(Tribal villagers were assaulted and 18 women raped during a search operation in Vachathi village of Dharmapuri district in June 1992 when the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was in power.)
Mr. Ramkrishnan also criticised the present Agriculture Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan (Forests Minister in 1992) for giving a false statement in the Assembly that sought to shield the accused from action.
Mr. Ramakrishnan said that history would not forgive both the Dravidian parties for their betrayal of the people of Vachathi.
K. Balakrishnan, MLA from Chidambaram, said the judgment in the Vachathi case was a landmark verdict. This was the first case in which all the accused (215) were convicted. This showed that peoples' movement could not be defeated.
Both the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the DMK were two sides of the same coin, as both were supporting the bureaucrats instead of helping hapless tribals.
State president of the Tamil Nadu Tribals' Association P. Shanmugham said Chief Minister Jayalalithaa should provide two acres to the tribals who were affected by the violence unleashed by the forest, police and revenue officials at Vachathi, in order to compensate for the inaction then.
Lawyer N.G.R. Prasad said that the entire credit went to the CPI (M) which fought for justice for the Vachathi people.
Lawyer K. Ilango said this was the biggest case after the enactment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act ,1989. Harur MLA P. Dillibabu spoke.