Number of vehicles bound for Pasumpon through Silaiman check-post drops
The 106th birth anniversary celebrations of freedom fighter Muthuramalinga Thevar were largely peaceful in the district on Wednesday.
Police said the number of vehicles passing through Madurai enroute to the memorial site at Pasumpon dwindled from 800 last year to 317. Police attributed the sharp drop in vehicle numbers to prohibitory orders clamped by the Ramanathapuram district administration and the ban on hired vehicles entering the district.
For its part, the Madurai city police invoked the provisions of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act to outlaw unauthorised processions, demonstrations and public meetings.
The celebration at Goripalayam junction, marked by floral tributes to the life-size bronze statue of Muthuramalinga Thevar, was muted drawing fewer crowds than last year. Except for raucous youth on two-wheelers, the crowd was disciplined on the occasion.
Women in yellow and red saris and boys sporting yellow T-shirts and orange bandanas arrived in processions bearing sprouts and balancing milk pots on their heads.
Leaders pay respects
Political leaders, cutting across party lines, garlanded the Thevar statue at Goripalayam. A touch of theatre ensued as Sridhar Vandayar, president, All India Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam, arrived early to pay homage and then, along with around 250 supporters, staged a protest march towards the Albert Victor bridge to condemn the prohibitory orders imposed by the State government. He insisted on proceeding by foot to the memorial site at Pasumpon. The police granted the demand. However, the leader and his supporters returned to their hotel after walking up to Teppakulam, through Nelpettai and Kamarajar Salai, where they garlanded the statues of Marudhu Brothers.
The police said Mr. Sridhar later left for his hometown.
A bevy of political leaders and local dignitaries showed up with garlands in hand to honour the late freedom fighter. They included All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) ministers Sellur K. Raju, K. Kamaraj and K. Vaithilingam, Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leaders Pon Muthuramalingam, G. Thalapathi and Jeyaraman, former MLA L. Santhanam of the All India Forward Bloc, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA R. Annadurai.
The windshield of a city bus was damaged in stone pelting late in the evening. The rural police seized over 80 two-wheelers and the riders were booked for causing nuisance, but were later let off with a warning. The vehicles were intercepted at Chinthamani, Koodal Pudur and Othakadai, Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan said.