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Rescue volunteers allege harassment from party workers
People with alleged political affiliations have been forcibly taking flood relief supplies from volunteers and marking them with images of the Chief Minister, telling them that it was on official order. The government has issued a denial on the same
Just like the skies opened up all over the city, help has also been pouring from all sides. But volunteers who want to reach out to the needy also face a host of problems. The worst reportedly came from political party workers. In many places, people complained that the ruling party workers prevented the service-minded from distributing relief materials like food, water sachets, blankets, sanitary napkins and clothes directly to the affected persons. They wanted the materials to carry the sticker of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and routed through them.
However, a post circulated in the Facebook in the name of AIADMK claimed that neither the AIADMK HQ nor the government issued any instructions to affix Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s pictures on relief material packets that was being distributed to the public by the NGOs or individuals. The post further said that such allegations were baseless and were being floated by some unscrupulous elements in a bid to tarnish the image of the government. According to the Facebook page, volunteers faced with such problems can approach the police and lodge a complaint. They can also call these numbers: 28130787, 28132266 and 28133510 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We arrived at four to five locations in and around Keelkattalai after much struggle. But the local political activists insisted they would hand over the materials after affixing the stickers of the Chief Minister on the packets,” said a volunteer on condition of anonymity. “We were just there to help those is distress. Braving the rains, we told them the next batch could be handed over to them. But they stood their ground,” the volunteer said.
A woman from the locality, who carried food packets for around 100 persons and a bag load of sanitary napkins, also faced a similar situation in one of the affected pockets in a south Chennai suburb. “I was blocked by a group of five. But, I don’t know whether they belong to any political party. However, I along with one of my friends took a long-winding route and reached the location wading in waist-deep water carrying the relief materials on our heads. Where there is a will, we will find a way,” she said.
Netizens blast politicos on Facebook
Citizens have taken to expressing their anger over reports of such incidences across Chennai. A resident of Korattur alleged on Facebook that the local councillor in his area, deliberately prevented flood water from being drained from his area, so that people would approach him for his assistance. The user also alleged that the official took over the milk supply in the area and began selling packets at four times the price. Citizens have been asking the user to publicly name the individual responsible for these actions.
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