Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ex-Naxals’ tryst with elections

Ex-Naxals’ tryst with elections
Wednesday October 4 2006 11:56 IST

DHARMAPURI: The joint efforts of the district administration and the police department to change the minds of Naxals and their supporters have finally yielded results. The former Naxals have now decided to contest the local body elections.

Dharmapuri is being identified as one of the Naxal-prone districts in Tamil Nadu. Naxal activities were strong in 55 villages identified by the police department in the district a few years ago.

On November 24, 2002 at Uthangarai, Naxal leader Siva alias Parthiban was shot dead in an encounter at Chinnakanagampatti village. Following the incident, combing operations were undertaken by the police during which as many as 30 Naxalites, including five women, were arrested and weapons seized from them.

Five police personnel, including an inspector, were injured during the operation. Police also launched a manhunt for PWG activists Sundaramurthi, Nivin, Kalidass and Ananthi.

As a result, Naxals and their supporters, who were arrested by the police in connection with various cases, abandoned their activities and returned to the main stream.

One such reformed Naxal supporter - P Thirumurugan (28) of Ramiyampatti hamlet - is contesting from Mallikkuttai for the post of panchayat president in Karimangalam panchayat union as an Independent.

Another Naxal sympathiser, T Ammasi (45) of Ramiyampatti, is contesting from Karimangalam Union for the post of ward member as a Congress candidate.

Thirumurugan, a post-graduate, is contesting on the ‘Lock’ symbol. In his election manifesto, he has assured to abolish ‘Kanduvatti’ and ‘Kattapanchayat’, create awareness on female infanticide, employment generation, etc. Ammasi has assured to strive for the welfare of the society.

According to Superintendent of Police H M Jayaraman, Thirumurugan, an activist of the Tamil Nadu Ryot Coolie Sangam, which directly supported Naxal activities, had some cases pending against him in Mathikonpalayam police station. His nomination had been accepted by the Election Department. Similarly, PWG supporter Ammasi had also been detained in connection with several cases.

The SP claimed that the effective measures taken by the administration to uproot Naxalism in the district had forced the members to tread the right path. As far as Dharmapuri district was concerned, various welfare measures had been implemented by the DRDA at the identified Naxal-prone villages.

Apart from development works, as many as 1,000 youth were trained to attend the Uniformed Services Exams in the district. Of them, 158 had got placements in various defence services. The SP added that at present, as many as 350 youth were being given training to attend the SI selection in the police department.

Physical training was being given at Dharmapuri, Pennagaram and Harur. After completion of the physical training, they would be given coaching for the written test jointly by the NSD wing and DRDA.

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