In a blistering attack, Tamil Nadu’s principal opposition party, the DMK, slammed the central government for “turning Jammu and Kashmir into a huge prison”. It also demanded the release of all the leaders who were arrested in the view of abrogation of Article 370.
The Centre had on August 5 abrogated the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, thereby revoking the special status of the state. A resolution adopted during a general council meeting of the MK Stalin-led party on Sunday (November 10) condemned the August 5 move.
During the meeting, Stalin stressed the importance of federalism as he demanded the Centre to “respect the sensitivities of the people.” Stalin, president of the DMK, which won 38 of the total 39 seats in the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, also condemned what he said was the RSS’s plan to divide the nation into “200 janpads”. The party stressed that all 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule be recognised as official languages of the country.
“This general council (meet) condemns turning the region into a huge prison and betraying the people; for arrest of leaders like Farooq Abdullah and placing them under house arrest who strove for democracy,” the resolution said. The party also urged the Centre to “immediately free all those arrested and respect human rights, the sensitivities of the Kashmiri people and democratic ethos.”
The DMK also sought withdrawal of the Draft National Education Policy (DNEP) 2019 from the Centre, alleging that it was an attempt to impose Hindi and Sanskrit. It further wanted education in the State list from the concurrent list of the Constitution.
The party also demanded 90% recruitment of the State’s youth for vacancies in central government establishments and public sector units located in Tamil Nadu. Competitive exams, including interviews for openings in the Central government should also be held in Tamil, it said.
The party “strongly condemned” filling vacancies in central government offices in Tamil Nadu by allegedly favouring those from northern states while 80 lakh youth of the state awaited employment after registering in employment exchanges. It has also condemned the Centre’s move for reservation for economically weaker sections saying that it waters down the true objective of reservation.
“In order to uphold social justice, the Centre should bring ‘carry forward’ concept so that the 27% reservation for the Scheduled Castes and 22.5% reservation for the Scheduled Tribes will be achieved. The party also batted for the increase of 27% reservation for Backward Classes to 50%,” the resolution added.
The party chief further claimed that the BJP’s parent body, the RSS, has planned to do away with the states and districts and put in place a single administrative system by dividing the nation into “200 janpads”. “News has emerged that the BJP government is moving towards that plan; the DMK condemns it and we urge the Centre to give it up,” the resolution said.
Lauding the Centre’s initiative to celebrate 70 years of adoption of the Constitution on November 26 in the Parliament, it noted the Constitution’s preamble declared India a socialist, secular and democratic republic. Besides, the Supreme Court had held that features including the fundamental rights can never be amended and the party urged the Central government to bear this in mind, it said.
Stalin asserted that the DMK will never allow tampering of the basic structure of the Constitution, including secularism, and slammed the BJP-led government accusing it of adopting a “big brother” attitude toward states.
“This general council makes is categorical that the DMK will never allow tampering of the basic structure of the Constitution,” the resolution said. State autonomy is one of the cornerstones of the DMK’s ideology and as early as 1957 the party had demanded capping Centre’s powers in respect of administration and taxation.
In 1974, then DMK chief M Karunanidhi had raised the slogan “mathiyil kootatchi and manilathil suyatchi” which meant a federal setup at the Centre and autonomy for state.
The DMK urged the Centre to remember the recommendations of the Rajamannar Commission appointed by former chief minister M Karunanidhi to study the Centre-State relations. The Commission, which was set up by the State in 1969, had said that the Centre should have powers related only to defence, external affairs, transportation between the states and foreign exchange, and all other powers must be entrusted to the State.
The DMK said, in the past 70 years, experience, however, showed that the Centre has “concentrated powers” in its hands at the expense of states and the party viewed with concern the present day status of the powers given to the states.
Ushering in the proportional representation of electoral system for Parliament and Assembly elections and transferring residuary powers from the Centre to States are the other amendments the party wanted.
“In areas like finance, education, subsidy and loans, the Centre, which is following a big brother attitude should be avoided and States should be given appropriate powers,” the party said adding it wanted appropriate Constitutional amendments to ensure fulfilment of its demands.
(With inputs from agencies)