Tamil Nadu's Forest Minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan has been facing flak after a television channel in the state aired footage of him making a tribal boy unbuckle the minister's shoe for him so that the former could enter a temple.
The incident occurred outside at the inauguration of the rejuvenation camp for captive elephants in Theppakadu's Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) located in the Nilgiris.
The AIADMK minister allegedly had back pain which is why he made a young, tribal boy bend and unbuckle his (the minister's) shoes for him so that he could step inside the temple.
In the video, he can be heard calling the boy and asking him to undo his buckle. "Come here... come here...buckle...remove this buckle..." the minister can be heard saying.
Outrage over TN Minister getting tribal boy to unbuckle slippers pic.twitter.com/zGXgw5PVH5— Poornima Murali (@nimumurali) February 6, 2020
The boy, a local Class IX student by the name of Kethan, was called by the smiling 71-year-old minister who asked him in a friendly manner to take off his slipper.
Videos of the incident went viral on social media with many outraging against the minister's actions with many accusing him of discriminating against and mistreating the tribal boy. Others pointed out the "arrogance" of the minister who could not even take his own shoe off. Many called for sacking the minister from his position.
The arrogance of an elected official.— Mohan S. Menon (@nycmomo13) February 6, 2020
World Championship of Shamelessness. It would be very interesting to see what would happen if so called leaders would call their children or grand children in public and ask them to do the same thing.— Hemant Vora (@HemantVora0566) February 6, 2020
feudal lords, still thriving in our democracy.— Jeitendra (@Jeitendra1) February 6, 2020
This is shocking VVIP racism. TN forest minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan calls two tribal boys and asks them to remove his slippers so that he can enter a shrine!!!#Mudumalai #VVIPRacism #TamilNadu pic.twitter.com/FDD4Cbdkud— Shilpa Nair (@NairShilpa1308) February 6, 2020
Tamil Nadu Forest Minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan asked two tribal boys to remove his slippers to enter a shrine. Sack him from his position immediately. pic.twitter.com/icK5U1rDlH— Saumya (@Saumyart) February 6, 2020
Shocking.Tamilnadu Forest Minister Dindukkal Sreenivasan made a tribal boy to remove his Slipper during the inauguration camp for elephants in Mudumalai,So that he could enter the shrine... pic.twitter.com/21W1EwRwtQ— Ramesh (@RHoneykumar) February 6, 2020
A state forest minister makes a tribal boy remove his slippers so that he can enter a shrine in Tamil Nadu.21st CENTURY, it seems? https://t.co/GxIf3y2VOk— Asmita Nandy (@NandyAsmita) February 6, 2020
#WATCH This is shocking VVIP racism. TN forest minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan calls two #Tribal boys and asks them to remove his slippers so that he can enter a shrine!!!#TamilNadu pic.twitter.com/DHHgNUWuWt— The Dalit Voice (@ambedkariteIND) February 6, 2020
Following the outrage, Sreenivasan said that making the boy take his shoes off was not his intention.
"It was not my intention to make the boy remove his slippers. But I saw the boy as my grandson and hence called him," he said.