Tense moments prevailed on Wallajah Road in Triplicane on Saturday evening after police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse protesters from various Muslim outfits who had gathered to condemn the arrest of an activist.
Yakub, a member of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) had been arrested on Saturday morning for distributing notices that were critical of rumours about the supposed doomsday on December 21.
On Saturday evening, over a 1,000 persons from various Islamic outfits including TNTJ, India Thowheed Jamath (INTJ), Tamil Nadu Muslim Munettra Kazhagam and Indian National League gathered in front of the Triplicane police station. Scores of police personnel were deployed from Wallajah Road-Anna Salai junction till Tamil Nadu Tourism Office. “We were marching peacefully when all of a sudden, the police started chasing us away. Some of them also insulted our religion. Many cadres were injured,” said a member of the INTJ who was present at the spot.
Over 300 cadres were arrested for unlawful gathering and later released.
In the notice, Yakub had exhorted people not to believe in the rumours and cited ten indications given by Prophet Mohammed regarding the end of the world. It said no one but god knows when the world will end. He also condemned rumours, based on various local traditions, about the end of the world. Syed Iqbal of the INTJ termed the arrest unfair as all Yakub had done was to dismiss the rumours.
Police officials said he was arrested under Section 153 A of the IPC for promoting enmity between different groups and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
M. Nizamuddin, vice president of North Chennai TNTJ, said that the police had initially gone to the house of their leader A.K. Abdul Rahim during the early hours of Saturday but did not find him there.