Published: 07th February 2020
TN Forest Minister apologises to the tribal boy for making him remove his footwear during forest visit
The Minister said that he had called the boy who was like his grandson to remove his footwear, and there was no other intention whatsoever. However, the boy's mother filed a police complaint
After the video of a Tamil Nadu Forest Minister, Dindigul C Srinivasan, asking a tribal boy to remove his chappals near Theppakkadu elephant camp went viral, many people condemned and criticised the behaviour of the minister. Today, Srinivasan himself expressed regret to the boy and his mother on Friday.
The Minister said that he had called the boy who was like his grandson to remove his footwear, and there was no other intention whatsoever. However, the boy's mother and some social organisations, sought an apology from the minister and filed a police complaint seeking action against him under the SC/ST Act.
Sensing the public wrath, Srinivasan called the mother and relatives of the boy, and community members to the state guesthouse 'Tamizhakam' on Friday to convince them and sort out the issue. After nearly a one-hour meeting, Srinivasan told reporters that he has personally apologised to the boy Ketan and his mother Kaliyammal and also assured to take up developmental works in their village.
Kaliyammal agreed to withdraw the complaint against the minister following his apology. She said, "He also assured to construct a community hall in the village and bring some developments." Meanwhile, members of some organisations, including Social Justice Party, gheraoed the minister by squatting in front of his car and condemned an NGO, who arranged the meeting in favour of the minister. However, they dispersed after lodging their protest.
Rewinding the incident
On Friday, the Minister triggered the controversy when he had come to inaugurate the elephant rejuvenation camp in Theppakkadu, in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. When he along with the district collector and other officials were proceeding to the camp, Srinivasan called the boy and asked him to remove his footwear so as to enter a temple there and perform pooja. The boy readily obliged and removed the slippers in full public view.