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Published in the 16-30 Sep 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

TMMK protests against Jayalalitha's remarks on Muslim quota

Chennai: About 3,000 slogan-shouting activists of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) on 29 August courted arrest when police stopped them from marching to Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha's residence. The marchers were protesting Jayalalitha's reported comments ridiculing the Andhra Pradesh government's five percent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for Muslims. The TMMK protesters also demanded the introduction of a similar measure in Tamil Nadu.

TMMK members protesting outside Jayalalitha residence

TMMK members protesting outside Jayalalitha residence

"Chief Minister Jayalalitha has not only opposed separate reservation for Muslims but also ridiculed the concept in a recent press conference," the TMMK leadership said in a statement. 

"She has also alleged that the minority community in India enjoys more benefits than the majority community. The comments of the chief minister have hurt the sentiments of the minority communities, particularly the Muslims."

Today, the Marina beachfront was awash with thousands of protestors led by leaders of TMMK -- a non-political outfit with two million members -- who attempted to go in a procession to picket the Poes Garden residence of the chief minister. 

The TMMK statement also said: "The (job reservation) measure had been recommended by the state minority commission during Jayalalitha's earlier tenure as chief minister."

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