High drama in Tamil Nadu Assembly as AIADMK members are evicted for the day, ruling withdrawn later

Addressing the media outside the House, Palaniswami said he wanted to flag the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, which he said has left "50 persons dead."

ByPTI

Published Jun 21, 2024 | 11:41 AM Updated Jun 21, 2024 | 4:44 PM

AIADMK members being evicted out of the Assembly

The AIADMK members in the Tamil Nadu Assembly were evicted enmasse on Friday, 21 June, after the main opposition tried to raise some issue during the Question Hour, but the ruling was withdrawn by the Speaker soon, following an appeal made by Chief Minister MK Stalin.

Leader of Opposition K Palaniswami had earlier said the party wanted to raise the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy that has left “50 people dead”, but was denied permission. He described the eviction as “murder of democracy.”

Speaker M Appavu said the AIADMK members wanted to raise an issue during the Question Hour, which was against the House rules. Members were free to raise matters during the Zero Hour, only after the completion of Question Hour, he added.

As the AIADMK members were unrelenting on their demand, the Speaker ordered for their eviction and ruled the opposition party legislators cannot attend the proceedings for the day.

Addressing the media outside the House, Palaniswami said he wanted to flag the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, which he said has left “50 persons dead.”

Later, CM Stalin appealed to the Speaker that the members of the main opposition be allowed to participate in the proceedings, which Appavu duly obliged and asked the AIADMK MLAs to return.

The opposition party MLAs, including Palaniswami, earlier came to the Assembly wearing black shirts.

CM calls it ‘drama’

Chief Minister MK Stalin slammed the AIADMK for “drama” and its attempt to cause confusion and appealed to the opposition to not seek political mileage from the grievous incident.

The CM said he and late Chief Minister M Karunanidhi are of the firm resolve that the House should be held in a democratic manner and that the members of the main opposition should take part in proceedings. The AIADMK MLAs, however, did not return to the House immediately to take part in the proceedings.

Stalin said that in December 2001 (when AIADMK was in power) a similar incident had happened in Cuddalore district, claiming 52 lives and affecting over 200 people.

“Now, I have ordered tough action. At that time (2001), action was not taken properly,” he said. Fearing a reference by members to that incident, “they (AIADMK) have staged a drama,” the CM added.

‘LoP should stayed back’

The CM said the behaviour of the opposition MLAs went against House rules and tradition. They attempted to cause confusion and they were evicted. Palaniswami had been the Chief Minister and others had served as Ministers. They should have avoided such behaviour.

Replying to a call attention motion moved by several MLAs over the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, Stalin expressed anguish over the death of 47 persons in the Kallakurichi district following the consumption of ‘methanol mixed poisonous arrack,’ on 19 June 2024. The LoP could have stayed back in the House to express his views.

“However, without doing that, in such an important issue, he has moved out with his party members for political reasons.” Stalin, referring to remarks that he should own up to responsibility for the Kallakurichi incident, said: “I am not the one to run away from problems and go into hiding. I have listed the actions taken, have replied to you only after arresting the culprits. I am reining in the culprits with an iron hand.”

The CM said: “I have with me the list of illicit arrack deaths during the AIADMK regime. I don’t like to talk politics based on that.” Also, he appealed to the opposition to not seek political mileage by using the grievous incident.” He assured stern action to protect the people from anti-social elements.

Action taken

Explaining in detail the action taken, including measures to speed up medical care, arrest of four persons, seizure of methanol, he said whomsoever it may be, if they are linked to the hooch tragedy, they will be brought to book.

After assuming office in May 2021, under the DMK regime, till date as many as 4.61 lakh persons have been arrested and 4.63 lakh cases were registered in connection with illicit arrack. Also, 16.51 lakh litres of illicit arrack has been confiscated and destroyed. As many as 565 persons have been detained under the Goondas Act.

Though police superintendents have been directed to audit licensed users of methanol such as industries, smuggling of methanol from neighbouring states result in incidents like the Kallakurichi tragedy. “It is deeply anguishing that such undesirable incidents happen despite such stringent steps to completely eliminate illicit arrack. This government will render all help to the affected people.”

Stalin also outlined additional relief measures to the kin of the deceased in addition to the ₹10 lakh solatium to each of the affected families. Such measures include ₹5 lakh in Fixed Deposit in the name of children who have lost both their parents.

“When they complete 18 years of age, the amount will be provided to them with interest.”

The evicted AIADMK members did not include supporters of former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) who did not join their estranged colleagues. On the ruckus by the opposition MLAs, Leader of the House, Duraimurugan said it was an undesirable event led by the LoP and AIADMK MLAs and it was regrettable.

Duraimurugan, a senior Minister, said opposition MLAs have a right to raise issues and debate. However, it should conform to House rules and Question Hour is very important and during that time, allegations should not be levelled.

Also Read: As Kallakurichi hooch tragedy leaves 38 dead, Opposition wants CBI probe, seeks CM Stalin’s resignation

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