Tamil Nadu’s forest minister, Dindigul C Sreenivasan is facing outrage over an incident of alleged caste supremacy. The AIADMK’s Sreenivasan was inaugurating an elephant rejuvenation camp in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), when he had to remove his shoes before entering a shrine.
Despite a crowd of AIADMK party members and police personnel surrounding him, a video shows the minister beckoning two boys from outside the frame who approach him, seemingly bewildered, and bend down to remove his slippers for him while he laughs.
“Inga va da (come here),” he said at first. He then says, “Odi va (come running),” pointing at his feet. Eventually a chorus of “Va da (Come here)” is heard from the crowd before the boys came forward.
The boys reprotedly belong from the Irula tribal community, recognised as a scheduled tribe for the last 40 years. The Constitution refers to them as Irular, a Tamil word Irular isassociated with ‘darkness’ or ‘night.’
The video has evoked backlash from viewers, with many calling out Sreenivasan’s behaviour as “VVIP racism,” “arrogant,” and “feudal”.