BJP leader spends about 40 minutes with family members of Ramesh

Expressing shock and distress over the murder of BJP State general secretary V. Ramesh here on July 19, party senior leader L.K. Advani on Thursday appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to personally follow up the investigation to bring the assailants to book at the earliest.

Mr. Advani, who spent about 40 minutes with the family members of Ramesh, told a condolence meeting later that leaders of the BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Hindu Munnani were being targeted. He also recalled the bomb blasts in Coimbatore in February 1998.

Is it a crime to be a patriot or nationalist, Mr. Advani asked people in power and said those who were against anti-nationals were being killed.

“The government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee can outbeat any rule in the country after Independence,” he added.

The former deputy prime minister also said the BJP was determined to provide good governance as it had zero tolerance to terrorism, violence and corruption. BJP national general secretary P. Muralidhar Rao and state president Pon Radhakrishnan also spoke.

More than 2,000 police personnel from various districts in West Zone were deployed for security duty. The vigil will be on till Mr. Advani leaves Salem for Pune on Friday morning.

Mr. Advani arrived around 3 p.m. by a chartered flight and proceeded to Ramesh’s house. Police sources said about 150 personnel were deployed near the residence of Ramesh and his office where he was hacked to death. The road on which these premises were located was sealed.

3 questioned on suspicion

Special Correspondent from Coimbatore writes:

The police, apparently anxious to ensure that Mr. Advani’s visit to Salem on Thursday was incident-free, detained three persons for a few hours for questioning after they were spotted along the BJP leader’s convoy route.

The three men from Bangalore were in Salem to pay a monthly instalment of their automobile loan.

They were taken to a police station for questioning on suspicion. The police found their explanation convincing. After verifying all the details, the police released them in the night.

A team from the Special Division of the Special Branch–CID led by an officer of SP rank questioned them.

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