The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) has filed a public interest litigation petition in the Madras High Court for an enquiry by a retired High Court Judge into the incidents at Marakkanam in Villupuram District on April 25 and the subsequent events leading to the “illegal arrests and misuse of powers” by invoking preventive detention laws against the party leaders and workers.

On April 25, the Vanniar Sangam organised Chitrai Festival at Mamallapuram in neighbouring Kancheepuram district. In the petition, filed through counsel K.Balu and M.R.Jothimanian, PMK president G.K.Mani alleged that the party workers were being harassed by the police and deprived of their civil liberties.

Nearly a fortnight ago, a journalist had filed a PIL plea for a commission of inquiry by a Judge to assess the damage to property in the Marakkanam violence. The court had ordered notice.

Mr. Mani said the DSP, Villupuram, had granted permission on April 29 to stage a demonstration near the Villupuram railway junction the next day seeking a judicial enquiry into the Marakkanam incidents. Later, the permission was cancelled. The party workers were prevented from conducting the demonstration and nearly 360 persons, including himself and the leader, S.Ramadoss, were arrested. Later, they were remanded to custody. In preventive arrests, the police’s usual practice was to release those arrested the same day. In the present case, those arrested were remanded. The party workers were lodged in far off Tiruchirappalli jail, instead of the nearby Cuddalore or Chennai prisons. The police also sought to cancel the bail granted to the party leaders and workers. The State machinery showed “undue interest” in arresting the party leaders and workers. This was not only an “act of misuse of power”, but also a “measure of political victimisation.” As on date, nearly 100 persons had been detained under the Goondas Act and the National Security Act. Cases were being filed indiscriminately, the petitioner said.

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