Political Moves

MK Stalin says there will be ‘war of independence’ if Centre continues eroding states’ rights

The DMK working president has attacked the BJP, alongside Rahul Gandhi, Nitish Kumar and other Opposition leaders.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Working President MK Stalin continued his attack on the central government, when he spoke of a “war of independence” on Twitter. He tweeted, “Willful erosion of States Rights by Centre which seeks to establish a Monolith will only incite a renewed War of Independence.” He made the remark soon after several national leaders had joined him on Saturday to attack the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.

On Saturday, as DMK chief M Karunanidhi turned 94, Communist leader Sitaram Yechury, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Nationalist Congress Party leader Majeed Memon congregated in Chennai to take on the BJP.

Stalin spoke of several poll promises that the BJP have not yet fulfilled, and warned the Centre not to put the people through another “freedom struggle”, The Times of India reported. He also said Tamil Nadu would oppose Hindi being forced on them. More than once, Stalin brought up the Centre’s alleged moves to take over the country, saying that the BJP was trying to “saffronise” the country and that he wanted to end “autocracy”.

Rahul Gandhi echoed his ally and said even decisions like demonetisation were made autocratically, without taking others’ views into consideration. Sitaram Yechury asked all leaders to unite against the BJP. “We need to meet the challenge by uniting together,” he said.

Stalin used the occasion on Saturday to concretise his role in the DMK. Though most leaders spoke of Karunanidhi in their addresses to the crowd, the 94-year-old Tamil veteran leader has not been seen in public for several months now. His longtime nemesis, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalithaa also died last December, leaving a massive void in politics in the region. Several regional leaders have claimed the BJP is now trying to make inroads into the state and other southern parts of the country, especially since Jayalalithaa’s death and Karunanidhi’s apparent exit from politics.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

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According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

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The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.