(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
BEFI Extends Relief to Dharmapuri Victims
S V Venugopalan
IT was a heart rending scene to the visiting delegation of the Tamilnadu state unit of Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) to see the remains of totally burnt houses and ruined livelihood of the dalits of the three colonies of Naickenkottai village in Dharmapuri district. Blackened walls, molten ceiling fans, broken pieces of glass, burnt food materials, twisted furnitures, charred house hold articles and the like were what was available door after door in almost all the 268 houses of Natham, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti colonies that witnessed the heinous crime against humanity on November 7 this year. (Please see detailed report in People's Democracy dated November 18, 2012).
That the whole operation executed in four to five hours that evening was totally pre-meditated and well engineered was for all eyes to see. The way the houses have been ransacked, steel cupboards broken and valuables looted and the tiled ceilings razed to the ground spoke volumes of the diabolic intentions of those who provoked this violence, in the first place. From birth certificates to mark sheets of budding youth, from ration cards to voter IDs and from bangles to small toys of children, nothing has been left untouched by the casteist fire that engulfed the whole lot of settlements there.
Shocked by the newspaper reports, BEFI Tamilnadu voiced against this atrocity immediately and issued a call for funds from its rank and file towards providing some relief to the victims, taking cue from the instant gesture bestowed by the AIIEA units in rushing to the area for an on-the-spot study simultaneously reaching dress materials and other requirements to the tune of Rs 1.70 lakhs. Besides quick mobilisation from the affiliated bank wise unions, BEFI's appeal drew instant response from other well wishers, too, enabling it to offer relief measures for about Rs One lakh.
A team of BEFI-TN from Chennai along with representatives from AIIEA and ICF United Workers Union (CITU) reached Dharmapuri on December 4 where, at their request, Madheswaran, divisional functionary of the AIIEA along with others had already procured and packed neatly, the essential basic cooking utensils for all the 300 familes for distribution among the victims. The relief materials were then taken to all the above three villages where it was distributed to people. K Swaminathan, general secretary, SZIEF (AIIEA) and K Ganesh, Convenor, Ambedkar Kalvi Maiyam were part of this visit.
Addressing the affected people briefly, Dilli Babu, CPI(M) MLA and K Samuel Raj, general secretary, TNUEF reassured support to the affected people in their struggle for justice. Others who spoke included C P Krishnan, general secretary, BEFI-TN, V Tamilselvi (BEFI), Sundaram, treasuer, Confederation of Central Government Employees Unions, Ramalingam and Rajaram (ICF Workers Union (CITU).
Tearfully thanking the visiting trade unions for their solidarity, the people of the area exhibited a sense of growing confidence to stay determined to fight for justice unitedly.