DMK to supreme court

Centre Step-Motherly Towards Tamil Refugees; CAA Arbitrary: DMK To SC

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has told the Supreme Court that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019 is “arbitrary” as it only considers religious minorities from three countries while keeping Sri Lankan Tamils staying in India as refugees.

The Central government has “categorically remained silent to the plight of the Tamil refugees. Step-motherly behaviour of Respondent No.1 (Centre) towards the Tamil refugees has left them living in constant fear of deportation and an uncertain future,” stated the affidavit filed by DMK.
The DMK said that CAA is “arbitrary” as it relates to only three countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and confines to only six religions — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian Communities and expressly excludes Muslim religion.

Filing an affidavit before the Supreme Court in its plea challenging the CAA, DMK said that even while considering religious minorities, the Centre keeps such Tamils of Indian origin who are presently staying in India as refugees after fleeing from Sri Lanka due to persecution.

The Act is “against Tamil race” and keeps out the similarly placed Tamils who are residing in Tamil Nadu from the purview of the Act, it said.

“The impugned Act ignores the reality that for several decades Tamil refugees who have settled in Tamil Nadu are deprived of fundamental rights and other rights due to non-citizenship and due to non-naturalisation and the impugned Act does not provide for any reasons to exclude them,” stated the affidavit filed by organising secretary RS Bharati, the governing party of Tamil Nadu.

“Being stateless, they have been denied employment in the government services or in organised private sectors, the right to hold property, right to vote, enjoyment of government benefits received by the citizens and others despite there being an agreement for the same,” it added.

Due to such an ambiguity, they are forced to stay in camps where they are often exploited having no prospects of security in future, said the DMK in its affidavit.

“The lack of jobs, access to basic rights and amenities has left these refugees handicapped and distraught. These refugees who arrived at the country of their origin i.e. India with the hope that the Indo-Sri Lankan agreements will protect them from the ensuing persecution so that they could have brighter futures, discrimination-free environments, and better standards of life are now in a far worse state than before. The requests for citizenship by these Tamil refugees who have spent years in refugee camps have fallen on deaf ears of the Centre,” it added.

It said that the reasons for their fleeing from Sri Lanka have not changed as many displaced persons escaped their country due to the large-scale violence and unsafe circumstances and came to India hoping for a better future.

The party has also said that the Act introduces a completely new basis for the grant/non-grant of citizenship on the grounds of religion, which “destroys the basic fabric of secularism”.

The Act deliberately keeps away Muslims who had suffered persecution in the six countries and therefore it is highly discriminatory and manifestly arbitrary, said DMK.

At least 220 petitions against the CAA were filed before the top court.

The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019, and it was met with protests all across the country. It came into effect on 10 January 2020.

A Kerala-based political party Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), DMK, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Congress leader Debabrata Saikia, NGOs Rihai Manch and Citizens Against Hate, Assam Advocates Association, and law students, among others, had filed pleas before the top court challenging the Act.

In 2020 Kerala government had also filed a suit in the apex court becoming the first state to challenge the CAA.

The law fast-tracks the process of granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and took refuge in India on or before December 31, 2014.

The top court had earlier issued notice to the Centre and refused to pass an interim order staying the law without hearing the Centre.

The Centre had filed its affidavit before the apex court saying that the CAA Act is a “benign piece of legislation” which does not affect the “legal, democratic or secular rights” of any of the Indian Citizens.

The CAA does not violate any fundamental right, the Centre had said while terming the legislation legal and asserted that there was no question of it violating constitutional morality.

The petitions contended that the Act, which liberalises and fast-tracks the grant of citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, promotes religion-based discrimination.

The amendments have also been challenged on several other grounds, including violation of secularism, Articles 21 (right to life), 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and 19 (right to freedom), as well as provisions on citizenship and constitutional morality.

The 2019 Act amended the Citizenship Act, 1955, which makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship if they (a) belong to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities, and (b) are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. It only applies to migrants who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. As per the amendment, certain areas in the Northeast are exempted from the provision. (ANI)

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Karunanidhi

Dravidian Mascot Karunanidhi Is Dead

DMK chief M Karunanidhi, one of the foremost Dravidian politicians in modern times, died in Chennai on Tuesday, after waging a grim battle for life aged 94, the hospital where he was admitted for the last 11 days said. One of the most charismatic figures of Tamil Nadu politics whose public life spanned over seven decades, is survived by two wives and six children, including DMK working president and heir apparent M K Stalin and daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP. The most enduring mascot of the Dravidian movement breathed his last at 6.10 p.m. “We profoundly mourn the loss of one of the tallest leaders of India and we share the grief of family members and fellow Tamilians worldwide,” a press release by Dr Aravindan Selvaraj, Executive Director of Kauvery Hospital, said. President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and a host of other celebrities mourned his death. “Extremely sad to learn of the passing of Thiru M Karunanidhi. A doyen of our public life, as a contributor to the development of Tamil Nadu and of India he has few peers. Our country is poorer today. My condolences to his family and millions of well-wishers,” Kovind tweeted. Modi said Karunanidhi stood for regional aspirations as well as national progress. “Deeply saddened by the passing away of Kalaignar Karunanidhi. He was one of the senior most leaders of India. We have lost a deep-rooted mass leader, prolific thinker, accomplished writer and a stalwart whose life was devoted to the welfare of the poor and the marginalised,” Modi said in a series of tweets. A bulletin from the Kauvery Hospital had said on Monday evening the condition of the DMK patriarch had “declined” and keeping his vital organs functioning was proving a “challenge”, triggering concerns about his condition among his followers who began swarming the hospital soon after. Hundreds of them kept vigil outside the hospital overnight, but when the facility came out with another bulletin at 4.30 p.m today, describing his condition as “extremely critical and unstable”, the milling crowd grew delirious and dramatic scenes began unfolding. Some were seen fainting, while a few others beat their chests and faces in utter desperation. Cries of “Ezunthu Vaa Thalaiva (arise leader and come),” rent the air as DMK supporters bearing the red-and- black party flags broke into feverish chants hailing the stalwart. However, their prayers went unanswered, with the hospital announcing his death at 6.10 p.m. Sudden silence descended once the hospital issued the bulletin confirming Karunanidhi’s death. Some in the crowd lit the cell phone torches as a mark of respect for the departed leader. Shops and business establishments downed shutters as the news of Karunanidhi’s demise spread and streets got deserted quickly. A general alert has been sounded across the state and security tightened at vital installations to tackle any law and order situation, officials said. Karunanidhi’s death comes barely 20 months after that of J Jayalalithaa, his long-time political foe and another bright star that faded from Tamil Nadu’s political firmament on December 5, 2016. The sharp-tongued, quick witted Karunanidhi was a five-time chief minister, who wielded considerable influence beyond his own state, in the corridors of power in New Delhi, for a long time, sewing up alliances with both the Congress and the BJP. Hugely influenced by the rationalist and egalitarian ideology of E V Ramasamy ‘Periyar’ and DMK founder and the state’s first chief minister C N Annadurai, Karunanidhi became one of the most enduring mascots of the Dravidian Movement, which aimed at seeking equal rights for the depressed sections and women, and was against Brahminism. Karunanidhi became the chief minister for the first time in 1969 after the demise of Annadurai. He subsequently helmed the state as chief minister in 1971, 1989, 1996 and 2006. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly 13 times, the last time as a 92-year-old in 2016. Karunanidhi, who earned sobriquets of ‘Thalaivar’ (The Leader) and ‘Kalaignar’ (The Artist) from his ardent followers, became DMK president in 1969 and held the position till his death. (PTI)
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