No need to visit birth place of any leader: Judge

The Madras High Court Bench here has disapproved of the practice of various caste groups taking out processions to pay homage at the memorials of national leaders during their birth anniversaries which more often than not results in large scale violence and consequent disturbance to law and order.

Dismissing a writ petition seeking police protection for Mamannar Poolithevar’s 297th birth anniversary celebrations, Justice N. Kirubakaran said: “One has to visit Porbandar in Gujarat to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary or Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh to celebrate Pandit Jawaharlal’s birth anniversary if the contention of the petitioner is to be accepted.”

“It is not necessary to visit the birthplace of any leader to pay homage... If the petitioner really wants to felicitate and honour the great Mamannar Poolithevan, he can do so at his place. He can also do social work, feed the poor and help orphanages or old age homes. If done, it will be a befitting tribute to the memory of the great king.”

The judge went on to state: “The birth anniversary of Mamannar Poolithevan who fought against the mighty British regime has to be definitely celebrated. However, in the name of birth anniversary celebrations of the said hero, public peace and tranquillity cannot be allowed to be disturbed especially when the police had denied permission after taking the ground realities into consideration. It is seen that southern part of this State is often disturbed by communal tension and disturbance resulting in loss of life and damage to properties. This court cannot lose sight of the aforesaid situation prevailing in these districts though in this case the three groups that are at loggerheads with each other belong to the same community.”

In a counter affidavit filed in reply to the present petition, the police had stated that there were two factions of Thevar community in Nerkattan Seval Palayam Village in Sivagiri Taluk of Tirunelveli district.

One faction was led by Gomathi Muthu Rani Thurachi, hereditary heir of Poolithevan and another by Vasudevanallur Panchayat Union councillor Pandiarajan.

The councillor had been conducting the birth anniversary every year on behalf of Mamannar Poolithevan Memorial Trust headed by M. Natarajan, husband of V. K. Sasikala.

The present writ petitioner, S. Raja Maravan alias Manickavasagam, a resident of another village, was once associated with the trust.

But he fell apart due to a dispute and wanted to celebrate the anniversary separately.

Instigated

The police had denied permission to the petitioner on the ground that he was being instigated by Ms. Thurachi to exhibit his popularity in the region and hence there was likelihood of disturbance to law and order if he was allowed to celebrate the birth anniversary by gathering his supporters in Nerkattan Seval Palayam.

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