Marriages are made in manifesto: Row over DMK’s promise on inter-caste weddings

Chennai: For the past few days, videos and posts alleging that ‘the DMK’s election manifesto promises Rs 60,000 and eight grams gold as gift if a woman from one of the dominant communities marries a Dalit man’ have gone viral on social media.

Among the videos, a couple of them- one featuring a woman and another a man- have gone ultra viral. This is the gist of the charge made in the clips: According to the DMK manifesto, if a woman belonging to Mudaliyar, Brahmin, Naidu, Vanniyar, Yadhavar, Nadar, Agamudaiyar, Reddiyar, Pillai, Kallar, Maravar, Chettiyar and Kongu Vellalar communities among others is married to an Adi Dravidar man, the couple will be gifted Rs 60,000 in cash and eight gram (22 carats) gold coin. This has been mentioned as point 259 in the DMK manifesto.’

The videos urge girl children’s parents (from the above communities) to not vote for the DMK in the upcoming Assembly elections.

A Salem-based BJP functionary Mahesh, who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Twitter, stated: “In DMK’s manifesto 2021, NO 259, page 73, if any boy belonging to SC / ST caste marries a girl of other Hindu castes, he will get Rs 60000 and 8 grams of gold as incentive. This is going to incite caste clashes in TN instead of healing the wounds.”

His post was retweeted by hundreds of followers and several have been sharing similar messages on social media platforms, expressing the fear that caste Hindu girls would be abducted and married by Dalit men to avail of this assistance.

Speaking to News Today, Rama Ravikumar of Tamil Hindu Organisation feels the DMK is voicing the anti-Hindu sentiments of VCK. “The latter has openly decried Hindu temples. They are known for spewing venom on Hindu culture and tradition. And DMK is no different. The consolidation of Hindu votes has forced them to visit temples and even hold the holy Vel. But their real intentions are known to all,” he adds.

Krishnamurthy of Hindu Makkal Ammaippu  said, “DMK is always known for double standards. On one side they claim they are Hindu friendly and on the other side they promote hatred against Hindus. There are messages running around that the party has promised cash and gold for Dalit boy’s marriage with caste Hindu girls and this has sent shock waves in the society.”

According to Gopi, a Vanniyar Sangam functionary, “such promises would lead to unnecessary fear and tensions in the society. But we can’t expect anything else from the DMK and its allies”.

Meanwhile, the DMK has vehemently denied making such a promise in its manifesto.
According to the party, the manifesto merely promises to rename the existing scheme (currently named after Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy), aimed at couples in which one spouse belongs to an SC or ST community, after party patriarch M Karunanidhi’s mother Anjugam Ammal and increase the financial support to Rs 60,000 and 8 grams of 22-carat gold. Currently, it offers 8 gms of gold and Rs 25,000 for non-graduates and Rs 50,000 for graduates.

DMK Rajya Sabha MP N R Elango said similar schemes are not only implemented by BJP-ruled governments in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat State governments, but also by the Union government.

R S Bharathi, who is also a Rajya Sabha member of the DMK, said they had urged the Election Commission to take action against persons spreading false news about a scheme that has been implemented in the State for five decades.

 

NT Bureau