The guru pujas performed for Immanuel Sekaran and Muthuramalinga Thevar this year were in stark contrast to previous years. This time round there were no lorries or other cargo vehicles with occupants shouting slogans through loudspeakers. There was no dancing on the rooftop of buses and lorries. No long convoys of speeding vehicles, no bravado or daredevilry on the road. Goripalayam junction was not off-limits to city residents.
From last year’s petrol bomb attack that claimed seven lives on October 30, to an incident-free guru puja this year, with minimum inconvenience to the common man, symbolises a triumph of good policing.
This year the police were in control. “All we did was implement the law in letter and spirit,” a police officer said.
With the supporters of the two late leaders drawn from two major communities, the police were willing to take no chances.
The government clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning the use of hired vehicles by visitors to the site of the memorials in Ramanathapuram district.
Notes Commissioner of Police Sanjay Mathur, “This resulted in a drastic drop in the number of vehicles going to Ramanathapuram.” By promulgating the Tamil Nadu City Police Act banning demonstrations, processions and public meetings without prior permission, the City police were able to regulate the processions more effectively than in the past, despite violations.
The seizing of 26 two-wheelers on September 11 for attempting to stage a rally and the cases registered against the leaders of Puthiya Tamilagam and Tamizhaga Munnetra Kazhagam sent out a strong message to leaders of other organisations.