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|October 22, 1998||
Opposition blames Karunanidhi for caste clashes
Opposition leaders who attended today's all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi to discuss measures to prevent caste clashes in Tamil Nadu criticised the state government, saying intelligence failure had led to the recent clashes in Ramanathapuram district.
The five-hour-long meeting at the state secretariat in Madras remained inconclusive as leaders of 26 parties, mostly allies of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, could not express their views for want of time. The meeting will continue on Monday, October 26.
At the meeting, All-India Anna DMK MP and former minister V Sathyamurthi, alluding to Puthiya Tamizhagam legislator and Dalit leader Dr K Krishnaswamy's charge made two weeks ago that the AIADMK was behind the riots, said those blaming his party should prove their allegation.
The state government had failed to check the spread of the clashes in time, he added.
Sathyamurthi reiterated the AIADMK's demand for an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the incidents.
Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy said Karunanidhi should own responsibility for ignoring reports about the impending clashes and not acting fast enough to contain them.
Pattali Makkal Katchi president Dr S Ramadoss said stern action should be taken against those trying to provoke the clashes again, while Marumalarchi DMK MP Gingee Ramachandran blamed the failure of the police intelligence wing.
Meanwhile, the high-level committee led by retired Supreme Court judge S Mohan, which probed the reasons for the recurring caste clashes in southern Tamil Nadu, has suggested some preventive measures:
The recommendations are part of the annexure to the notes circulated among the participants of the all-party meeting.
The committee, appointed by the state government in the wake of the caste clashes that rocked the southern districts last year, found that casteist violence could be ended only if untouchability was eradicated.
At the same time, the committee said, there should be awareness among the Dalits that the reservation benefits enjoyed by them had the unqualified support of leaders belonging to other castes.
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