The 104th birth anniversary and 49th guru puja celebration of freedom fighter and prominent Mukkulathor community leader Pasumpon U. Muthuramalinga Thevar passed off peacefully amid tight security here on Sunday.

Apart from celebrations at the native village of Pasumpon in Ramanathapuram district, the late leader's larger than life statue at Goripalayam Junction in Madurai also sees similar celebration on his birth anniversary.

Ministers and MLAs, leaders of various political parties, community organizations and members of Mukkulathor (Kallar, Maravar, Agamudaiyar) community garlanded the statue and paid tributes to the late leader. Women carried Mulaippari (sprouts) and went around the statue; people also carried milk pots to perform abishekham.The statue which was built during former Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi's regime was unveiled by the then President of India V.V.Giri on fifth of January, 1974. Since then most of the politicians who visit the memorial at Pasumpon would first be garlanding the statue in Madurai before leaving to Pasumpon. On behalf of the State, Minister for Cooperation, Sellur K.Raju, garlanded the statue in the presence of Madurai Corporation Mayor, V.V. Rajan Chellappa, Deputy Mayor R. Gopalakrishnan, Madurai North MLA, A.K.Bose, Thirumangalam, MLA, M. Muthuramalingam, early in the morning, before leaving to Pasumpon.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was represented by its treasurer M.K. Stalin, who garlanded the statue. He was accompanied by R. Avudaiappan, former Assembly Speaker, and former Ministers I. Periasamy, S. Thangavelan and Thangam Thennarasu. The Congress was represented in two groups, one by S. Thirunavukarasar and other group by Madurai district secretary, A. Deivanayagam. MDMK general secretary Vaiko paid tributes and said that he had been paying tributes for the last 35 years. Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadres led by their State committee members, R.Annadurai, M.L.A, N.Nanmaran former MLA paid tributes. Communist Party of India led by P.Sethuraman, executive committee member garlanded. Forward Bloc's Usilampatti MLA, P.V. Kathiravan and members of different factions of the All India Forward Bloc also garlanded the statue.

Tight security

Unlike previous occasions, every aspect of this year's anniversary came under police scanner; the vicinity was free of huge flex boards, banners and posters. No two-wheeler and auto rickshaw processions were allowed during daytime.

Right from the beginning, the men in Khakhi took control of the junction and prevented any gathering of the crowd. People thronging the statue were asked to move and disperse quickly after paying respects. Members were prevented to burst crackers during the procession, recovery vehicles and fire tenders were positioned near the statue as a precautionary measure. However, late in the evening, youth were found zipping past on two-wheelers, dangling from auto rickshaws and SUVs. Commissioner of Police P. Kannappan visited the spot and saw the security arrangements. Deputy Commissioner of Police (law and order) R. Thirunavukarasu and a large posse of officers and personnel were handling the crowd near the Thevar statue at Goripalayam junction.

Two state-owned city buses were reportedly stoned near Madura College and near Andalpuram (Agrini apartments), the police said. No arrests were made.

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