Update: Centre declares Pongal as compulsory holiday in Tamil Nadu.
Chennai: AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala said the Centre’s reported move to convert the holiday given for Pongal festival into restricted one from compulsory has come as a “big shock” and urged the Union government to review its decision.
“It (the decision) comes as a big shock that Pongal festival, which was a compulsory holiday for the central government employees in Tamil Nadu, has been made restricted holiday,” she said in a statement.
Pongal is a cultural festival being celebrated for long transcending caste and religious feelings and it is the Centre’s “duty” to provide a holiday for the families to celebrate it, she said. Though Pongal falls on Saturday (January 14) this year, the Centre should ‘respect’ the festival and provide holiday to all central departments, she added.
“The Centre should realise and accept the rights and feelings of Tamils and give compulsory holiday for Pongal,” she said.
Sasikala said due to the efforts of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa many rights of Tamils were upheld and the state is now waiting for the Centre to meet its expectations and ensure its rights in this matter, she added.