Chennai, Dec 4: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam supremo M Karunanidhi has slammed the Pattali Makkal Katchi's new campaign against inter-caste marriages in Tamil Nadu and demanded strict action against anyone fanning casteist passions.
He was referring to PMK founder S Ramadoss who has hit out at Dalits for lodging false complaints under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
On Dec 2, the latter also told newspersons that Dalit men had enticed girls hailing from intermediate castes into marriage of late. Ramadoss noted that the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) youths "wear jeans, T-shirts and fancy sunglasses to lure girls from other communities".
Leaders of parties which see the Dalits as their main votebank are behind these marriages, he said. Ramadoss accused Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) activists of misusing the SC/ST Act, 1989.
He pointed out that several marriages between non-Dalit women and SC/ST youths failed in Namakkal and Dharmapuri districts. Many of the newly-weds and close relatives of the brides in some cases ended their lives as they were unable to bear the consequent humiliation, Ramadoss rued.
A retired judge of the Madras High Court should enquire into "such staged marriages over the last four years and how young women and family members have been affected", he stressed.
Incidentally, critics of Ramadoss have called for a CBI probe into the PMK's role in instigating large-scale violence against SC/STs last month. After the father of a Vanniyar girl committed suicide over her tying the nuptial knot with a Dalit youth, a mob attacked residents of three Dalit colonies at Naikkankottai village in Dharmapuri district on Nov 7.
Vanniyar men allegedly set on fire nearly 150 houses in the colonies, but PMK leaders refuted the charge that the attacks were premeditated.
Ramadoss has sought to turn the tables on his detractors by urging the state and central governments to amend the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in order to prevent what he describes as its "misuse by the Dalits".