Bandh called to condemn murder of party general secretary evokes mixed response

At least 6,000 workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party were arrested across Tamil Nadu on Monday when they resorted to various forms of agitation as part of a bandh called by the party to condemn the murder of its State general secretary V. Ramesh in Salem last Friday. Most of the arrests were effected in Chennai, Sivaganga, Coimbatore, Salem and Kanyakumari districts.

While a petrol bomb was thrown into a mosque in Coimbatore, 62 buses were stoned, 40 of them in Kanyakumari district, by protesters who raised slogans demanding the arrest of the persons involved in the gruesome murder. Fourteen BJP workers were arrested on charges of throwing stones on two shops in Tiruvarur district, police sources said.

In Chennai, police arrested 20 BJP cadres for allegedly damaging a Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus in Triplicane on Monday. A total of 1153 cadres, including 85 women, were arrested and released at 36 places across the city. About 50 cadres assembled along Triplicane High Road in the morning and blocked traffic. Some protesters threw stones on an MTC bus. One child was injured and the bus windscreen damaged.

In Puducherry, 100 party workers were held.

Meanwhile, a staff bus of the MTC was also damaged by unidentified persons.

In another incident at Vepery, three persons on a motorcycle threw stones on an MTC bus transporting drivers to depots. Nobody was injured. In the western districts, windscreens of 11 buses in Coimbatore and Krishnagiri and the glass of a car showroom in Erode were damaged in stoning. Tension gripped Thudialur in Coimbatore after some persons hurled a petrol bomb on a mosque. Police defused the situation by pacifying agitated members of the Jama’ath. Seven buses came under attack in Coimbatore and nearby areas and four in Krishnagiri district. While injuries to passengers were not reported from Krishnagiri, Parthiban, a bus driver at Mettupalayam in Coimbatore district was injured when a piece of the windscreen pierced his hand.

Shops and other commercial establishments, including eateries, remained closed in Coimbatore and other places across the western region.

Police arrested six persons in Coimbatore city on charges of intimidating shop-keepers. One person was held in connection with the damage caused to a bus.

Normal life was affected at Coonoor, Kotagiri, Gudalur and Pandalur in the Nilgiris district, with most of the shops closed and taxis, autorickshaws and jeeps off the roads. In Namakkal, only shops and eateries were open. In Tirupur, the BJP held a meeting to condole Ramesh’s murder. In Salem, many shops were closed and some private schools declared a holiday.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National