March 20, 2018
Chennai : “Is this an AIADMK government or a BJP government”, this question coming from DMK working president and leader of opposition in assembly MK Stalin after Tamil Nadu government gave protection to the Ram Rajya Rath Yatra that entered Tamil Nadu this morning at Sengottain in Tirunelveli and pass through Madurai, Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari and from there to Kerala.
The Rath Yatra, that many in the opposition dub a BJP inspired move to communalise the situation in Tamil Nadu, was vehemently opposed by the opposition parties, but the administration imposed sector 144 in Tirunelveli district through which the Yatra was passing through.
The issue rocked the ongoing budget session in the assembly wherein the opposition walked into the well of the house and protested shouting slogans against the yatra and the government for allowing the same through a state that had not witnessed communal tension of any sorts.
Later, DMK leaders, including MK Stalin courted arrest, after staging a walk out in the assembly.
Speaking to party cadres and leaders in Chennai just before entering the police bus, Stalin said it was difficult to make out if it was an AIADMK government or BJP government that was in power in the state.
“It is ample proof that the BJP is ruling Tamil Nadu by proxy,” Stalin said. Later he participated in protests at Rajaji Street where he also courted arrest along with other DMK and other party cadres and leaders.
DMK Rajya Sabha MP, Kanimozhi condemned Tirunelveli Collector Sandheep Nandhuri for clamping section 144 prohitory order to give safe passage to the Rath Yathra.
In a strongly worded FaceBook Post, Kanimozhi said, “the real intention of the Rath Yathra by the sangh parivar outfits is to create communal tension. It appears that a District Magistrate who is supposed to uphold the constitution has blatantly sided with sangh parivar outfits.”
“In the 144 prohibitory order promulgated, Sandheep Nandhuri, states that trouble is expected in the peaceful rath yathra and hence 144 is promulgated. One wonders, how this prohibitory order is not applicable to the rath yathra,” Kanimozhi wondered.
Defending the decision to grant permission to the yatra, chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami said in five states the permission was given, including in Left ruled Kerala and there have been no instances of communal strife or tension reported from those states.
The CM requested the opposition not the politicise the issue.
Outside the assembly, state fisheries minister D Jayakumar said that the BJP had no connection with the yatra that was being conducted by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Some 1500 police personnel were pressed into service to provide security and maintain law and order in Tirunelveli and adjoining areas through which the rath yatra would pass.