CM Stalin celebrates Diwali with Narikurava, Irula communities – Times of India

Chennai News

CHENNAI: The festival of light this year ended the long struggle for basic amenities by Narikuravar and Irula communities in Pooncheri village and neighbouring areas in Mamallapuram near Chennai and laid the path for “a new and dignified life”.
The villagers were unanimous in their praise of chief minister M K Stalin, who visited their village on Deepavali day on Thursday “to restore their dignity”. Henceforth, “we will be treated with respect and not looked down upon. The CM’s visit has sent across a clear message to government officials”, said Ranjith and his neighbours.
The CM later tweeted that the core ideology of the Dravidian movement was to protect the self-respect of the marginalised section of the society to ensure social justice. There was a long way to go to get rid of the social evils (caste and class divide) that have been deeply entrenched in society for thousands of years, he added.
Stalin, on Thursday, reached out to the Narikuravar and Irula community people with a bundle of welfare measures worth 4.53 crore as Diwali gifts. “It is the day to light up the lives of the Irula and Narikuravas communities,” said Stalin.
“Ashwini was not denied food, but respect. It is an opportunity for the government to restore it,” Stalin tweeted, recalling a recent incident when the Narikurava woman from the village and her community members were denied food during an annadhanam at a temple managed by the n Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE). Ashwini had aired her grievance and alleged discrimination which was videographed and widely circulated. HR & CE minister P K Sekar Babu sat with her for annadhanam at a temple in Mamallapuram Friday last and promised to bring the CM to their village.
“He gave us respect and new meaning to our lives. Now, we will live here with hope that our children will get a good education and our community will be taken care of,” said Ashwini. She added that the CM asked about the well-being of her family members. “It was a great gesture by Periya Thalaivar (a great leader),” she added.
The CM distributed house pattas worth Rs 3.52 crore to 81 people during a programme organised in the village. He also gave community (ST) certificates to 88 Scheduled Caste members, narikuravas welfare and ST board membership cards and loans to the beneficiaries. He directed authorities to address their grievances and extend welfare measures within two weeks. He visited their homes and interacted with family members.
The CM issued orders to take up development work worth 75 lakh under the Kalaignar Urban Development Scheme. He instructed officials to construct anganwadi centres and additional classrooms in a panchayat union primary school. “There is no darkness in our village and our lives anymore,” said Vellaiamma, pointing towards the streetlights.