The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Quit call for minister in burial ritual

Chennai, Aug. 25: The ADMK government is faced with a major embarrassment because of a minister’s indiscretion.

The state units of the Congress and the CPM have demanded Tamil Nadu housing minister C. Dorairaj’s dismissal from the Cabinet for being a mute “witness” to a medieval ritual.

The demand was made on the eve of chief minister Jayalalithaa’s departure for New Delhi to attend the Cauvery River Authority meeting to be presided over by the Prime Minister.

More than 100 children were “buried” for around a minute at Peyraiyur village near Madurai recently to propitiate deities. The children were pulled out to safety, but the bizarre ritual caused a furore in political circles.

CPM state secretary N. Varadarajan called for a ban on such “barbaric practices” after a meeting of the party executive here. He also demanded the resignation of Dorairaj, who was present during the “mass burial” on an invitation from community leaders at Peyraiyur.

State Congress president E.V.K.S. Elangovan echoed the CPM when he insisted that Dorairaj should not continue as minister. His remarks in Salem today came close on the heels of veteran Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh’s strong words against the “child burial ritual”.

Elangovan claimed that there is a “twist” to the entire episode. The Congress leader said he had received information that the ritual was also aimed at ensuring the “continuity” of the ADMK government in Tamil Nadu.

Nedumaran office

Police today sealed the city office of the Tamil Nationalist Movement led by Pazha Nedumaran.

A team of policemen swooped on the premises in south Chennai around 7.30 am. The office also houses Nedumaran. The police made a list of all the items in the office and sealed the entry points to the ground floor. Nedumaran lives on the first floor.

Its Tamil publication Thenn Seithi (News from the South) is also brought out from the premises and the police action effectively freezes its publication.

Nedumaran was arrested on August 1 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for his support to the banned LTTE at a public meeting he had organised here in April. The meeting came in the wake of LTTE chief Prabhakaran’s first interaction with the world media after some 12 years in the Vanni jungles of northern Sri Lanka on April 10.

Nedumaran’s deputy Suba Veerapandian was arrested today under the anti-terror Act, taking the number of detenus under the Act in the state to 12. MDMK leader Vaiko was the first person to be arrested under the Act.

Questioning the ban on the organisation, a party registered with the Election Commission, Nedumaran’s lawyer Chandrasekhar said he would contest the government’s move in court. The ban on the party and the seal on its office were illegal, he said.

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