Protest politics


A bilingual on slain forest brigand Veerappan is stuck in the courts after his wife Muthulakshmi petitioned that the film portrayed her dead husband erroneously which, she claimed, would affect the cases pending against her. Another example is Bharati Kannamma which led to protests in southern parts of the state for the storyline that has a Thevar girl falling in love with a Dalit boy.

Among the prominent outfits in the federation is the TMMK, a Muslim welfare organisation whose political wing, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, was an electoral ally of AIADMK in the last Assembly election. Its leader M H Jawahirullah, a former state president of the proscribed outfit, Students Islamic Movement of India, is one of the two MMK candidates who were elected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The outfit has claimed to have no connection with SIMI, though it did not help that some of its leaders demanded a repeal of ban on SIMI.

Sympathetic observers opine that while the organisation has taken extreme positions on issues connected to the community, it does not support violence by and large. On the other hand, they add, it has helped to bring many in the community to mainstream activism and politics.

Similar is the case with two other member outfits of the federation, the much-maligned Popular Front of India and its political offshoot, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). Like TMMK, the PFI and SDPI are charged of having connection with SIMI, which they have denied. The PFI was formed first in Kerala, into which Manitha Neethi Pasarai, a Muslim outfit based out of Tamil Nadu, merged soon afterwards.

The PFI courted criticisms from all sections of the society after its activists were charged in the notorious case of chopping a college professor's hand in Kerala for insulting the religion. The SDPI, on the other hand, has positioned itself as a socialist democratic party that claims to have the support of all weaker sections of society irrespective of religion, caste, community and language.

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