Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi
AbbreviationVCK
ChairpersonThol. Thirumavalavan
General SecretaryD. Ravikumar
FounderM. Malalchami, D. Amukurajah
Founded1982
Split fromDalit Panthers[1]
IdeologyAnti-casteism
Anti-classism
Social Justice
Tamil nationalism
Political positionSyncretic[2]
Colours Blue
Red
ECI StatusUnrecognized political party
Alliance1) TMC : (VCK Party First Election 1999-2001)
2) DMK-BJP : (NDA) (2001-2004)
3) VCK - Makkal Koottani : (2004-2006)
4) AIADMK (Democratic People Alliance) : (2006-2009)
5) DMK-Congress (UPA) : (2009-2014) & (2017-2021)
6) DMK (DPA) : (2014-2015) (SPA) : (2021-Present)
7) Makkal Nala Koottani (2015-2016) 8) DMK (SPA) : (2021-Present)
Seats in Lok Sabha
2 / 543
Seats in Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly
4 / 234
[3]
Party flag
Election symbol of VCK

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (translation: Liberation Panther Party; abbr. VCK) formerly known as the Dalit Panthers of India or the Dalit Panthers Iyyakkam (translation: Dalit Panthers Movement; abbr. DPI) is an Indian social movement and political party that seeks to combat caste based discrimination, active in the state of Tamil Nadu.[4] The party also has a strong emphasis on Tamil nationalism.[5][6] Its chairman is Thol. Thirumavalavan, a lawyer from Chennai and its general secretary is the writer Ravikumar.[7][8][9]

History

The Dalit Panthers Iyyakkam was formed in 1982 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.[10][4] The group was found to seek protection of Dalits from the caste atrocities.[11] Founded by a group of disaffected Dalits under the leadership of M. Malalchami,[10] it emerged as a loosely organised group of local activists seeking assistance and protection through the association of a larger movement.[4] The movement was inspired by the Dalit Panthers of India, a social movement which itself had formed earlier in the 1970s in Maharashtra which itself was inspired by the Black Panther Party, a socialist movement that sought to combat racial discrimination in the United States.[12][13]

In 1989, after the death of the founder of Dalit Panthers of India (DPI), Thirumavalavan became its leader. In the 1990s the party grew by highlighting discrimination and caste-based violence. In 1999, VCK contested elections for the first time.[11]

VCK was allotted different election symbols in every election. In 2014, Madras HC ordered the Election Commission of India to consider VCK's request for star as their election symbol.[14]

Party principles

The main aim of the party is to abolish the differences among Tamil people and to lift up the socioeconomically weaker sections of society. The party supported the freedom movement of Tamil people in Tamil Eelam, as well as the security of Tamil people living abroad. The party also declared that Mahinda Rajapaksa should be charged with war crimes for the alleged assassination of thousands of innocent Tamil people during war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. In the Parliament of India in May 2012, Thirumavalavan joined other leaders and raised issue of the Ambedkar cartoon, sparking a controversy in Parliament.[15][16]

Ahead of the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, Thirumavalavan stated his willingness to form a coalition with any party apart from the DMK, AIADMK, BJP and PMK.[17]

Tamil Eelam

VCK formed Tamil Eelam Supporters Organization (TESO) along with DMK, DK, NTK, and demonstrated protests demanding credential probe into war time crimes against the Sri Lankan government during the war between LTTE and the Sri Lankan government.[18][19][20] Thousands of innocent Tamil people were brutally tortured and murdered during the war.[21] Many countries raised complaints against the Sri Lankan government in the United Nations International Criminal Court of Justice. VCK demanded that former Sri Lankan President Rajapakse should be charged with war crimes.[22][23] Many of its party men were arrested by Tamil Nadu police for creating public discomfort during protests against the Sri Lankan government. The party is heavily criticised for supporting LTTE and its leader Prabakaran, since LTTE is banned in India.

VCK is accused of promoting Tamil nationalism and supporting the banned group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.[24][25][26][27][28][29] Although major Tamil political parties DMK and ADMK both are accused for indirectly supporting LTTE, VCK is accused of supporting LTTE leader openly in its party posters. It is alleged that LTTE involved in the assassination of Former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. VCK Party is demanding release of the Rajiv Gandhi murder accusers along with major Tamil parties like NTK, MDMK, PMK, SMK, AIADMK and DMK. VCK Party also celebrated the birth day of Slain LTTE Leader Prabakaran along with other Tamil parties.[30]

Controversies

In April 2019, members of the RSS affiliated, Hindutva fringe-group Hindu Munnani broke an earthen pot, the election symbol of VCK at the village of Ponparappi, Ariyalur block, Tiruchi.[31] The incident happened in front of the Panchayat Office where the Tamil Nadu general election polling was going on which lead to a quarrel. This is said to have resulted a retaliatory violence against the Dailts. The Hindu reported a mob of 100 engaged in violence against the Dalits and at least twenty tiled houses which had the VCK symbol were totally damaged. A. Kathir of Evidence, a rights organisation based in Madurai claimed 13 people were admitted at hospitals, 25 houses were fully damaged and 115 houses were damaged. Tirumavalavan after visiting the area, told the media that the PMK and Hindu Munnani were responsible for the violence.[32]

References

  1. ^ "How the VCK Emerged as More Than 'Just a Dalit Party' in the Tamil Nadu Elections". The Wire.
  2. ^ Waghmore, Suryakant (30 September 2013). Civility against Caste: Dalit Politics and Citizenship in Western India. SAGE Publications India. pp. 15–19. ISBN 978-81-321-1886-2.
  3. ^ "Tamil Nadu polls: VCK wins four seats including two general constituencies". 4 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Wyatt, Andrew (2010). Party System Change in South India: Political Entrepreneurs, Patterns and Processes. Routledge. pp. 116–133. ISBN 978-1-135-18201-4.
  5. ^ "Strong ingredients of Tamil nationalism in VCK manifesto". The Hindu. 24 March 2011 – via www.thehindu.com.
  6. ^ "Tamil nationalism, then and now". Frontline.
  7. ^ "Business News Today: Read Latest Business news, India Business News Live, Share Market & Economy News". The Economic Times.
  8. ^ "Why caste battle in Tamil Nadu never ends - Times of India". The Times of India.
  9. ^ Naig, Udhav (24 June 2020). "Prosecution deliberately bungled in Shankar murder case, VCK leader says". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  10. ^ a b Gorringe, Hugo (2005). Untouchable Citizens: Dalit Movements and Democratization in Tamil Nadu. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-0-7619-3323-6.
  11. ^ a b TK, Smitha (5 January 2021). "Decoding VCK, The Face of Assertive Dalit Politics in Tamil Nadu". The Quint. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Dalit Panthers: Another View". Economic and Political Weekly. 9 (18): 715–716. 1974. ISSN 0012-9976. JSTOR 41497050.
  13. ^ Madhavan, Narayanan (5 June 2016). "How Muhammad Ali inspired India's Dalits". Hindustan Times.
  14. ^ "Madras HC orders ECI to consider VCK's request for star symbol". India TV News. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Row over Ambedkar-Nehru cartoon in NCERT textbook: Top 10 developments". NDTV.com.
  16. ^ Krishnakumar, G. (16 May 2012). "Parliament's stand on Ambedkar cartoon disturbing: Panikkar". The Hindu – via www.thehindu.com.
  17. ^ Akshaya Nath (6 May 2015). "Tamil Nadu: Will Thirumavalavan be able to form coalition government in the state?". Saddahaq. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  18. ^ "TESO Observes Black Day to Protest Rajapaksa's Address". The New Indian Express.
  19. ^ "About listing". The Indian Express.
  20. ^ "VCK condemns MEA's letter to TESO Organizers to drop word Eelam". news.webindia123.com.
  21. ^ "Sri Lanka's hidden genocide | The Star". Toronto Star.
  22. ^ "Error". www.globaltamilnews.net.
  23. ^ "Thiruma calls Rajapaksa war criminal". The New Indian Express.
  24. ^ "Furore in TN assembly over VCK leader's remarks". Outlook (India).
  25. ^ "VCK Leader Calls for Support to Tamil Eelam". Outlook (India).
  26. ^ "PMK, VCK want ban on LTTE lifted". The Hindu. 18 October 2014 – via www.thehindu.com.
  27. ^ "Lift ban on LTTE: VCK to Centre". Oneindia. 27 January 2008.
  28. ^ "Revoke ban on LTTE - VCK". www.dailymirror.lk.
  29. ^ "VCK man held for smuggling boat parts to LTTE in 2007 - Times of India". The Times of India.
  30. ^ "Naraka, Tamil Outfits Celebrate Slain LTTE Chief's Birthday". 27 November 2015.
  31. ^ "Simmering animosity led to attack on SCs in Ponparappi: fact finding team". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 25 April 2019. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 9 January 2020.((cite news)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  32. ^ Rajasekaran, Ilangovan. "Dalits in Tamil Nadu village attacked for voting in election". Frontline. Retrieved 9 January 2020.