Number of vehicles going to Paramakudi dwindles owing to ban order
The number of vehicles headed to the Immanuel Sekaran memorial in Paramakudi via Madurai on the leader’s death anniversary on Wednesday fell sharply compared to the same time last year.
Only 175 vehicles from Madurai and other districts passed through the police check-post put up at Silaiman as against over 800 vehicles that passed through the same route for the guru puja last year, a direct fallout of the prohibitory orders that were in force.
Said Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan : “Normal life was not affected throughout the district. All the buses and cargo carriers plied as usual, unlike in the past when these vehicles went off the road on this day,” he said.
The police, who had clamped severe restrictions on vehicle movement to the memorial, had a hard time convincing leaders of political parties who insisted on moving in convoys of more than 20 vehicles. Movement of vehicles in convoys of more than three vehicles was not allowed.
Vehicles carrying volunteers to Paramakudi were checked. Regional Transport Department officials assisted the police in ascertaining whether the vehicles were private or hired.
The strong police presence at Puliyankulam helped maintain peace in the village, which lies on the permitted route to Paramakudi. The police were wary of a reprisal for the death of seven residents of the village in a petrol bomb attack on a van in which they were travelling from Kamudhi after participating in the Muthuramalinga Thevar guru puja on October 30, 2012.
However, a youth, returning from Paramakudi, sustained injuries in a stone pelting incident near Tiruppuvanam. He was admitted to the Government Rajaji Hsopital here late in the night.
Lok Jansakthi Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan alleged that a curfew-like situation prevailed owing to the new security arrangements. “I have been visiting the Immanuel Sekaran memorial for the past three years. Despite the police arrangement, a huge crowd turned up at the memorial,” he said.
He urged the State government to declare a local holiday on Immanuel Sekaran guru puja day. “For lakhs of youth, the leader, who stood for social justice, is a guiding force,” he said.
Puthiya Tamilagam founder Dr.K. Krishnasamy complained that the police stopped even private vehicles. However, the police denied the charge.
Dr. Krishnasamy said that the imposition of the ban order under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code was aimed at suppressing the Dalits. He alleged that the major political parties in the State had an “anti-Dalit psyche,” and, therefore, did not oppose the ban.
He criticised successive State governments that organised State functions for particular caste leaders while ignoring Dalit leaders. “The Chief Minister and her Cabinet colleagues should desist from attending the functions organised for any caste leader. Instead, such functions should be limited to participation by Collectors,” he said.
He charged political parties with playing vote-bank politics by hosting such State functions. He wanted the State government to call an all-party meeting to lay down a uniform procedure for organising government functions for leaders.
Earlier, over 50 cadre of Makkal Viduthalai Katchi were arrested when they tried to take out a procession on two-wheelers to Paramakudi. The police booked its founder S.K. Murugavel Rajan and 58 others under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code for unlawful assembly, preventing the police from discharging their duties and violating prohibitory orders. Twenty-six vehicles were seized.
Mr. Rajan said impoverished Dalits could not afford to own cars. “Since the government has banned the use of hired vehicles to reach Paramakudi, we could go there only on our motorcycles,” he said before courting arrest near the B.R. Ambedkar Statue junction on Alagarkoil Road.
Two policemen attached to the VI Battalion of the Tamil Nadu Special Police were injured when a car, coming from Kanyakumari district, rammed the temporary check-post on the Virudhunagar-Madurai highway near Kalligudi. Vibres and Ramki, both aged 22, were admitted to a private hospital with multiple fractures. The accident occurred at around 3.30 a.m. after the driver lost control of the vehicle.