PMK leader S. Ramadoss on Tuesday dismissed as “wishful thinking” Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s warning that the State government would not hesitate to ban any political party that indulged in violence and caused damage to the public property. “Only the Election Commission has the power to take action against a political party and the State government cannot arrogate that power to itself. We are a recognised political party with an official flag and symbol. We were part of the Central government and held portfolios in the Union Cabinet. Now we have elected members in the State Assembly,” Dr Ramadoss, who is being treated in a private hospital, told The Hindu.
Dr. Ramadoss underwent an angiogram immediately after the interview and doctors later decided that he required a bypass surgery.
He alleged that the State government was bent upon crippling the PMK by arresting its senior functionaries before the Lok Sabha polls.
“In one week, 40 party men have been booked under the Goondas Act and it is unprecedented in the history of Indian politics. But we will not be cowed down and the AIADMK will reap the benefits of its action in the Lok Sabha polls,” said Dr. Ramadoss.
The PMK leader argued that untoward incidents could have been averted if the State government had allowed him to address a demonstration in Villupuram on April 30, instead of arresting him and sending him to jail.
“The police granted permission for our protest, but cancelled in the last minute. I told them that I would not address the gathering, but leave the spot after waving to the gathering. But even before entering the venue I was arrested,” he said.
Dr Ramadoss said instead of producing him before the magistrate, he was made to wait for 12 hours and it was early morning when he was taken to the prison in Tiruchi. “Five cases, including one in connection with the Kudankulam protests, were filed against me. Well-known environmentalists and senior leaders of political parties took part in the protest. But the government singled out my case,” he said, adding that in the prison he was denied even basic amenities and was forced to bear the summer heat at this old age.
Asked about the Chief Minister’s announcement that she would take steps to recover the cost from his party for the damage caused to the public property, Dr Ramadoss recalled the damage caused to public property soon and the burning of a bus in Dharmapuri that led to the death of three girls after Ms Jayalalithaa was convicted in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case. (She was subsequently acquitted by the High Court).
Keywords: Marakkanam violence, Vanniyar Sangam-Dalit clashes, caste clashes, Tamil Nadu caste politics, PMK, VCK, attack on Dalits, Ramadoss arrest, violent incidents, Jayalalithaa warning, Ramadoss rejoinder