TN polls: Boycott by village, missing names, ‘insensitivity towards disabled’

Ranipet’s Sithambadi village protests against govt apathy towards their demands for better civic amenities; In Trichy East, some voters’ names were missing, and wheelchairs were not made available to the differently-abled people

Residents of Sithambadi village in Ranipet district alleged that government is insensitive towards their basic demands.

About 50 families comprising 130 voters in Ambedkar Nagar of Sithambadi village in Ranipet district boycotted the assembly polls in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday (April 6) alleging their demands have not been met.

The voters of the village, near Arakkonam, stayed away and hoisted black flags atop their houses. They belong to the Arunthathiyar community, one of the three Dalit communities in the state. They alleged that though they have demanded good roads, street lights and drinking water for years, the government has not considered their plight.

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“We travel at least 4 km to get drinking water or access schools. We don’t have a cremation ground. None of the candidates came here to campaign. No official has responded to our demands,” said a resident.

Names missing: In another incident in the 34th ward of Trichy East constituency, names of about 250 voters were found removed from the voter list.

“Earlier we stayed in government quarters in the 34th ward. Since, the apartment was brought down since it was in a dilapidated state. New construction work is going on and the residents of 34th ward were shifted to another government quarters in the 33rd ward. Election officials have inadvertently deleted all the residents’ names who were living in the 34th ward,” said Vivek, a resident.

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Disabled forgotten: S Namburajan, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers, said that across the state, polling officials have not made proper arrangements for the differently-abled.

“The Arani constituency in Tiruvannamalai district has a good number of wheelchairs. But till 2 pm, those wheelchairs had not been put to use. In some other places, though there are wheelchairs, there are no ramps. So, the differently-abled voters were carried along with their wheelchairs with the help of people in polling booths,” he said.


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