Chaos broke out in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ram Rajya Rath Yatra arrived in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli amid fears of communal tension in the state, ANI reported. Legislators of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam were evicted from the House after they protested against the yatra’s arrival in the state.
The police detained DMK Working President MK Stalin and other party leaders who had blocked the road while staging a road roko outside Chennai’s Secretariat.
Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, addressing the Assembly, said that the matter must not be politicised, The News Minute reported. He added that 121 people had been placed under preventive detention in Tirunelveli, Kancheepuram, Madurai and Kanyakumari districts to “maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incidents”. He claimed that “some leaders are looking for political mileage in this”.
The district administration in Tirunelveli on Monday imposed Section 144 in the district to avoid incidents of violence during the Ram Rajya Yatra, The New Indian Express reported. Collector Sandeep Nanduri imposed curbs on the district between 6 pm on March 19 and 6 am on March 23 based on a report submitted by the superintendent of police that warned of possible communal tension.
The collector also ordered 940 police personnel be deployed to Sengottai and other places in the vicinity. “Even a minor incident will snowball into a major communal clash,” the newspaper quoted the police report as saying.
Meanwhile, vehicular traffic was affected in the Anna Salai area in Chennai after members of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam protested against the VHP’s rath yatra, The Times of India reported.
Tamil Nadu minister D Jayakumar said the yatra has nothing to do with the Bharatiya Janata Party, The News Minute reported. “This is the land of Periyar,” he said. “Just because there is one rath yatra, things will not change here. The yatra crossed many states. It was not stopped anywhere else.”
The Shri Ramdas Mission Universal Society of Maharashtra, which is conducting the multi-state event, launched the yatra from Ayodhya on February 13. Several local political parties had demanded that the state government ban the yatra from entering the state.
The yatra has the support of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Besides Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, it will also travel through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. To ensure that it faces no trouble along its route, the Union Home Ministry had written to the highest-ranking police officers in all six states asking them to take “appropriate action”, while attaching the route plan prepared by the event’s official organisers.