A devil’s domain

Call it a jinx, call it sheer coincidence or better still call it, political reality. Even a casual observer of Tamilnadu politics would not miss the inescapable conclusion that there is something about the DMK regimes, past and present, that emboldens the criminal elements to feel free and carry on their activities. It is not that the other regimes in the State and outside it were free of violence and that there were no incidents similar to one that is being witnessed in Tamilnadu. It is just that with the advent of every DMK government, comes an atmosphere of cordiality with some unsavoury elements who are made to feel comfortable, given boundless patronage and at times even lent an identity on ethnic lines.

If it was the LTTE in 1989 which benefited out of the aforesaid proclivity of the DMK, it is prime time for forest brigand Veerappan now as also for several fundamentalist outfits who all carry on their nefarious activities in gay abandon. While the authorities look the other way, it is nobody’s contention that the police are incapable of checking criminal activities in the State nor is it being suggested that the law of the land has lost its potency in bringing to book such perpetrators of crime. But it is a fact that there is a palpable lack of political will to get tough with such elements and there exists a tendency to appease them, for reasons best known to the rulers.

Or do we know the reasons? Probably yes, if we were to take the Dravidian propaganda and particularly the DMK’s a little more seriously. Much of their outpourings owe its source to their chief’s auto suggestion that he is the sole leader of the Tamil race. It naturally follows from there that whoever opposes him are bound to be dubbed as anti-Tamils and so deserve to be condemned. When such a leader and his ideology tend to become synonymous at least in the eyes of the Udanpirappugal, any attack on the leader becomes an attack on the Ideology and a sly on the race itself and vice-versa. As ‘a corollary, it can be inferred that those who are christened as part’ of the race become entitled to their hospitality and honours even if they happen to be criminal elements. The heady ethnic wine can blur even national frontiers and make the protagonists blind to the laws of the sovereign land.

The LTTE was clearly out of Tamilnadu in 1987 and 1988. Those were the years in which the Indian government made a marked shift in its stand on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. While till 1987, India did not see eye to eye with the Sri Lankan regime on its approach to the ethnic issue and it helped the militants through funds and training, there was a drastic change in our attitude in the run up to the accord and after it. This was primarily because the then Sri Lankan regime made a significant climbdown from its earlier stand and agreed to several concessions but that stopped short of granting a separate Eelam. The framework provided by the Indo-Sri Lankan accord, remains to this day the only possible solution to the vexed issue, and all Tamil groups saw the writing on the wall. Except the LTTE. And the DMK here in Tamilnadu.

The IPKF was butchering and raping Tamils, went the LTTE propaganda, which was promptly adopted here by the DMK. It also came in handy as a stick to beat MGR with and dub him as anti-Tamil and even non-Tamil. And when the DMK stormed to power in 1989, it was as if the LTTE had got a new homeland. The two years of DMK rule would, no doubt go down in the annals of LTTE history as golden years as the militants and militancy prospered unfettered in the State, a fact which has been described in detail in the Jain report, though dismissed as just old wine by no less a person than the Chief Minister of the State. All this when the Indian Army was fighting those very militants across the Palk Straits. And as if to add insult to injury, the Chief Minister, even refused to welcome the IPKF when they landed on Indian shores after their operations were called off by the V.P. Singh government, which was only toeing the DMK line even while being aware of the threats to national security caused by the latter’s indulgence with the militants.

Ever since the DMK ascended to power in 1996, its only obsession has been to bring the forest brigand Veerappan into the mainstream. Indications of such a pro-Veerappan tide were evident even before the elections when he became the star campaigner for the party through his all-revealing interview to the brigand media which was telecast by the DMK owned Sun TV. Since then Veerappan has got more air time than the country’s Prime Minister or for that matter even Sushmita Sen, not a day passes without one TV channel or the other showing video clippings featuring two moustached men seated across each other in dense forests negotiating either surrenders or release of hostages. Veerappan’s preachings and his side of the story are all now familiar themes and the day is not far off when he would be in our midst, canvassing for votes, thanks to the brigand media and an acquiescent regime. After all, the people deserve their king and if the kings decide who should succeed them, then so be it.

The Coimbatore incidents are yet another instance of the rulers’ apathy to crime and criminals. If they claim that they were taken by surprise, then curse their naivete. Even a child could have seen it coming. But then such ignorance is characteristic of a regime which looked the other way, when a fundamentalist outfit openly announced and then subsequently distributed knives to its members albeit for ‘self defence’, and were let off with just a mild admonition by the CoP.

So, as explosives keep going off under unsuspecting rail passengers, as the ruling party-owned TV terrorises the already terrified people of the State by enacting real life brigand dramas, and as masked goons and rowdies go on rampage during the days and nights alike, it really appears that the devil has chosen Tamilnadu for habitation.

If so then even god cannot save TN. Have we heard it before?

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Jawahar T R