Ruling DMK’s ally VCK’s chief Thirumavalavan instigated his party cadre to take the law into their own hands and not worry about legal retribution. He also stoked anti-Bharat separatist sentiment in a protest staged against the centre.
In a video that went viral on social media, Thirumavalavan, the chief of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Party(VCK) and the MP of the Chidambaram constituency, can be heard saying, “If you are to become a full-fledged cadre of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal (Party) at least 10 cases should have been filed against you. Some would backtrack if police file cases on them. If you are a true Viduthalai Chiruthai(cadre), don’t care if they file a case.. don’t be afraid..what can they do?”
He not only encouraged his cadre to not care about the laws and even mocked the Indian Penal Code by quoting some sections under which they would be booked. He said, “(They will) Book you under 147(unlawful assembly), 307 if you pelt stones, Public Property Damage Act if you break glasses(of public transport, government vehicles and offices)..they can file all they want. Let’s go to the courts. Let’s face it legally.”
He made taking the law into one’s hands sound like a noble act and boasted, saying, “I don’t know how many cases are filed against me. They will poke in your mouth saying, ‘Are you a Chiruthai(cheetah)? Will you growl? None of you would have gone through it.. nowadays you twist your mustache and walk(proudly)”. VCK has a reputation of conducting khap panchayats to settle matters out of court and police stations.
Thirumavalavan often instigated his cadre to target women from land-owning intermediary castes. There are allegations that men from his community trap such women in relationships and use it to threaten their parents for money. Once, in a party meeting he said, “Your women themselves will say ‘You have no sarakku(capacity). Your women follow us because we have sarakku(capacity), midukku(good gait), murukku(pride)”. Even though all the words don’t give a negative impression separately, when used together in Tamil and in the tone Thirumavalavan used, they mean to insult the people it is targeted at. The ‘sarakku’ word is used to mean sexual ability.
Recently there was an incident where Indian Navy men shot at fishermen from Nagapattinam in TN after their boat refused to heed the former’s calls to stop the boat. One of the fishermen in the boat was grievously injured and is undergoing treatment. A Navy helicopter took the injured to the Naval camp in Ramanathapuram for first aid and then admitted them to the government hospital later. The Indian Navy has formed a team to investigate the incident.
But politicians in TN are making it out to be a North vs South and anti-centre issue with the likes of Thirumavalavan stoking separatism. In a protest organised against the centre Thirumavalavan spoke saying, “Earlier it was the Srilankan Navy that shot at our fishermen, damaged their boats and put them in jail. We have been fighting against the Srilankan Navy for decades. Now, for the first time we have to protest against the Indian Navy.”
It is usually Tamil nationalists who ‘otherize’ central intelligence and security agencies. But now it has become mainstream as is evident from Thirumavalavan’s comments asking TN police “to show power”. He said, “We applaud Tamil Nadu police which registered a case against the Indian Navy soldiers. But they have to arrest them. They have to show that the Tamil Nadu Government has power. Can they do whatever they want just because they are Indian Navy’s men? Can’t we arrest them? I request that Tamil Nadu police arrest the Indian Navy officials who shot at our fishermen.”
Despite being a Lok Sabha MP to represent his constituents at national level, Thirumavalavan is denigrating Bharatiya armed forces and instigating people against the country. Such elements are given a free hand and power to boot which will only result in Tamils resenting centre for crimes it didn’t commit and erode the inherent nationalist streak in them.