- Don’t publish ‘baseless’ claims by Stalin: AIADMK sends legal notice to media
The notice lists eight allegations by the DMK that were published by media outlets, with rebuttals from the AIADMK.
The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu on Thursday sent a ‘legal notice’ to the editors of all press and television media outlets against printing or broadcasting “false, unfounded and baseless allegations and propaganda” by DMK president MK Stalin against Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and the state government. In the notice signed by advocate Babu Kumaravel, the party has listed eight specific allegations reportedly made by MK Stalin and published by various media houses, and has offered its rebuttal.
The unusual notice sent by the AIADMK alleged that the articles carried DMK’s election campaign propaganda claims, which were false and baseless. The notice pointed to an order from the Madras High Court to MK Stalin, telling him not to level any unfounded allegation and comment against the Chief Minister and the state of Tamil Nadu. The notice also asked media outlets not to give space to such allegations without verifying its authenticity and went on to threaten legal action if media houses continued to publish such statements.
While offering a rebuttal to the ‘baseless’ claims, the notice points to different data sources. In two instances, the notice also ‘corrects’ a media claim of a higher Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) with a lower one.
For example, the notice mentions this specific allegation twice — In the last 8 years of AIADMK rule, the ratio of SC (Scheduled Caste) students who have joined higher education stands at only 42.1%. The party rebutted this allegation by stating that the GER of SC students who have joined higher education during AIADMK period is 41.6%, which is double of 21.7% during the DMK’s period. Incidentally, the GER mentioned by AIADMK in its notice is lower than the allegation made by the DMK.
Another allegation that was rebutted in the notice was that the AIADMK government was the sole reason for over 16,000 farmers killing themselves. “National Crime Bureau Records (NCRB) shows that Tamil Nadu has reported not 16,000 but 3,203 cases of suicides of those engaged in the farming profession in the last seven years. Farmer suicides have reduced by 52.29% under AIADMK in the last 10 years,” it said.
While another allegation spoke about how crimes against minors and women have reportedly increased by 300% and how the state has the highest number of domestic violence cases, the rebuttal pointed out that Tamil Nadu had the lowest number of domestic violence cases in the country as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data from 2019.
“Tamil Nadu, ruled by the AIADMK, records the highest number of unemployed youth among all southern states of India. More than 23 lakh youth into the vicious cycles of unemployment,” the allegation stated. The response to this was that the state has the lowest unemployment rate of 1.1 in the country as of November 2020 and that over 15.58 lakh youth have got employment in the formal sector in the last three years. There was no mention of how many unemployed youth reside in Tamil Nadu in the response.
To the DMK’s allegation of 100% increase in the number of students enrolled in private schools, the AIADMK’s notice responded by stating that more than 5 lakh students from private schools had joined government schools in 2020. It also said that the new 7.5% reservation in medical seats for government school students resulted in around 400 rural students getting MBBS and BDS seats in medical colleges.
“Overall health index, Tamil Nadu has fallen from rank three to rank nine under AIADMK rule…According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), there has to be a bed for every 200 individuals,” the allegation stated. The response to this was that the state has the highest number of beds in the country at 72,616 and that according to a WHO report, Tamil Nadu was the only state in the country to successfully combat COVID-19 with the lowest death rate.