The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jail bharo to protest terror and temple

Villupuram (Tamil Nadu), Sept. 21: The DMK tonight called for a “jail bharo” agitation on December 1 against both the BJP-led Centre and the state’s ADMK regime.

The call brought the curtain down on the party’s massive three-day Villupuram conference that adopted as resolutions a 16-point charter of demands.

DMK chief M. Karunanidhi said his party would picket central and state offices across Tamil Nadu that day to press their charter of demands.

He said the “peaceful, total revolution” — similar to late Jayaprakash Narayan’s — would be aimed at ousting the Jayalalithaa regime that recently supported “in principle” a Ram temple in Ayodhya and “misused” the anti-terror law for political vendetta.

He was categorical that any attempt to build a temple at the site where the Babri Masjid once stood could only lead to bitter feuding between “Hindus” and “Muslims” and even a “bloodbath”.

“This, we will never permit,” he told the crowd three times.

Karunanidhi demanded the immediate revocation of the anti-terror law because it was being “misused” in the state to settle political scores. He cited the severe strictures passed by Madras High Court yesterday while granting bail to Tamil journalist R.R. Gopal, another anti-terror law detainee.

Karunanidhi also expressed concern at the year-long detention of MDMK chief Vaiko, Tamil Nationalist leader P. Nedumaran and other leaders under the law.

The law was being “misused” despite the assurances given by the Prime Minister and his deputy in Parliament, he added.

The DMK’s proposed agitation clearly signals a further distancing from its national ally, the BJP, and its clubbing with arch rival, the ADMK.

The other issues that will be highlighted include periodic meetings of the Cauvery River Authority to ensure due share of river water for state farmers, rescinding of the state law banning forcible religious conversions and the order banning animal sacrifices in temples.

The amendment to the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) would also be under fire. It had armed the state to sack 200,000 government employees recently.

The DMK would also press for withdrawal of cases “foisted” on Opposition leaders under this law. The party would also demand an end to privatisation of public sector enterprises.

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