Tension prevailed at Alathampadi near Tiruvarur on Saturday following an attempt to arrest Poondi Kalaivanan, Tiruvarur district secretary of the DMK, who was proceeding to Thiruthuraipoondi in a convoy along with former Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin.

Mr. Stalin was scheduled to attend a function at Thiruthuraipoondi.

The police stopped the convoy and wanted to arrest Mr. Kalaivanan. When Mr. Stalin asked the police to show the warrant and objected to the arrest, they told him not to interfere. DMK supporters organised ‘road roko' at the spot.

The police later took Mr. Stalin, Union Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palani Manickam, A.K.S. Vijayan MP, former Minister Mathivanan, along with Mr. Kalaivanan in a van.

As the vehicle was proceeding to Tiruvarur, DMK cadre led by former Union Minister T.R. Baalu staged ‘road roko' at Pulivalam and stopped the van. The police, after dispersing the crowd, detained them in a marriage hall at Tiruvarur. The police held discussions with Mr. Stalin and others.

Later, Mr. Stalin, Mr. Palani Manickam and Mr. Vijayan left the hall. As news about the detention of Mr. Stalin spread, DMK workers staged demonstrations at various places in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts. They were arrested and later released.

Later, Mr. Stalin said that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was upset with the order issued by a Bangalore court with respect to a case related to her. The arrests were reflection of this. Cases had been foisted against DMK activists without any reason. The repressive measures could not go on for long.

The police registered a case against Mr. Kalaivanan in connection with the death of Vijay of Manjakollai, a student of class VIII of Government Higher Secondary School, Koradachery.

Vijay died when a government bus in which he was travelling home on Friday met with an accident. The children had been sent back home following an agitation organised by Mr. Kalaivanan to press for the immediate implementation of the Samacheer Kalvi system. Three other students were injured in the accident.

Baskar, father of one of the injured students, lodged a complaint with the police that Mr. Kalaivanan was responsible for the accident as he had insisted that students must boycott classes.

The police registered cases against Mr. Kalaivanan under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 188 (preventing people from discharging duties), 268 (conspiracy and 506/2 threat to murder.

CPI(M)'s appeal

Special Correspondent from Chennai writes:

The CPI(M)'s State unit urged the police to enquire thoroughly into the accident involving a State Transport Corporation bus and a lorry at Koradachery in Tiruvarur district on Friday, and take action as per law.

In a statement here, the party's State secretary, G. Ramakrishnan, said the police attempted to arrest Mr. Kalaivanan in connection with the accident. When Mr. Stalin objected to this, he and others were detained. Instead of taking action after conducting an enquiry regarding the accident, the detention of Mr. Stalin who had gone to Tiruvarur to address a public meeting, was improper, he said. (Mr. Stalin was released later.)