Judge refuses to give permission for public meeting on January 26

Popular Front of India (PFI) on Tuesday withdrew its writ petition filed before the Madras High Court Bench here against an order passed by the Tirunelveli City Police rejecting permission for conducting a Freedom Parade-cum-Public Meeting at Melapalayam on January 26.

The PFI's counsel S.M.A. Jinnah preferred to withdraw the case after Justice K.K. Sasidharan said that he was inclined to pass orders directing the police to grant permission for the public meeting on any date except the Republic Day when police would be engaged in other events. However, the counsel pointed out that PFI's National Executive Council which met at Calicut on January 8 and 9 had decided not to hold the public meeting on any other day as it would not serve the purpose of honouring the freedom fighters and inculcating patriotic fervour among the people.

Earlier, filing a counter affidavit to the writ petition, the Tirunelveli Police Commissioner Karunasagar, said that permission was rejected for the event only after careful examination of factors such as security, public peace, safety and law and order implications.

On dress code

Claiming that the route requested by PFI for the parade was densely populated by various communities, he stated that the dress code and drill prescribed by the petitioner organisation for the participants resembled that of “army and police formation.”

The Commissioner also stated that the proposed parade, if permitted, would lead to communal clashes as per intelligence reports. Further, such parades conducted by PFI regularly to highlight the sacrifices of Muslim freedom fighters had been banned in Kerala and Karnataka.

“In Kerala, following the attack on Professor T.J. Joseph on July 4, 2010, the Kerala police unearthed incriminating anti-national and anti-social materials such as CDs showing inhuman punishment practice adopted by Al-Qaeda and Taliban aimed to train PFI activists to commit similar crimes,” he said.

Mr. Karunasagar went on to state that PFI was portraying itself as an army of the Muslims and it had an agenda of establishing ‘Darul Islam' (the land of Islam). In such circumstances, permitting it to conduct a parade-cum-public meeting would provoke Hindu organisations to conduct similar programmes.

Taking strong exception to the allegations levelled against PFI, its Tirunelveli district president M. Anwar Mohideen filed a rejoinder urging the court to direct the Police Commissioner to withdraw the allegations. He alleged that the Commissioner was indulging in mud slinging to defame the organisation.

According to him, the Kerala government had filed a counter affidavit before its High court on September 6, 2010 stating that there was no evidence regarding alleged connection of PFI with terrorist organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al-Qaeda.

He claimed that PFI had been honouring freedom fighters without religious discrimination and eminent personalities such as Mayandi Bharathi and Vaithiyalingam were honoured during a similar parade-cum-public meeting conducted in Madurai in 2008.