TN hooch tragedy: AIADMK members evicted en masse from Assembly

The Opposition AIADMK members were on Friday evicted en masse from the Tamil Nadu Assembly for staging a protest demanding a discussion on the horrendous Kallakurichi hooch tragedy which had claimed close to 50 lives so far.

Speaker M Appavu’s assurance to have the discussion after question hour went unheeded as they were adamant on having it by suspending all other business.

As soon as the proceedings of the House commenced, AIADMK legislators, sporting black shirts, were on their feet pressing for a discussion on the calling attention notice. They were supported by members of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and the BJP.

Persisting with their demand, the AIADMK MLAs trooped to the well of the house and resorted to a dharna, prompting the speaker to call the marshals. Soon, the PMK and BJP members staged a walk out in protest.

Later, addressing the media outside the assembly, Leader of the Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) reiterated his demand for Chief Minister MK Stalin’s resignation, owning moral responsibility for the tragedy.

Countering the opposition AIADMK, Stalin said, “I am not one who will run away and hide. People have not forgotten the fact that during the previous AIADMK government, ministers and top police officials were booked and investigated in connection with the hoarding of contraband and the case is pending before the court. I do have a list of hooch deaths under the AIADMK regime, but I am not interested in gaining political mileage by discussing that.”

Then he announced that the government will bear the educational expenses of the kids who have lost either one parent or both in the tragedy. “My government is determined to root out the menace of illicit liquor with an iron hand,” he said and gave a detailed list of preventive measures taken to contain illicit liquor menace – cases booked, detentions under Goondas Act and destruction of illicit brew.

Following Stalin’s appeal, Speaker M Appavu said AIADMK members could participate in the proceedings in the afternoon.

Earlier, EPS alleged collusion between the local functionaries of ruling DMK and hooch sellers and manufacturers.