Thirukumaran Nadesan, husband of Sri Lankan Member of Parliament Nirupama Rajapaksa, on Tuesday was attacked in Rameswaram by a group of Tamil activists. They were protesting against the killing of Tamils in the last stages of Sri Lanka's war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Nirupama Rajapaksa is the cousin of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The attack occurred when Mr. Nadesan came out of a priest's house after performing a puja as part of a Hindu ritual for propitiating the forefathers. Mr. Nadesan was on a two-day visit to the Ramanathaswamy Temple.
Activists of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Naam Tamilar Iyakkam, who came to know about the arrival of Mr. Nadesan, laid a siege to the house on Nadutheru, where he was performing the puja.
Led by State deputy secretary of the youth wing of the MDMK Karate Palanisamy, about 20 persons pounced on him with black flag sticks and footwear. The priests, who accompanied him, pulled Mr. Nadesan back into the house and closed the door. Some of the agitators began throwing stones and barged into the house. Ananda Dikshidar, a priest, suffered minor injuries.
Mr. Nadesan told The Hindu over phone that he was speaking to a group of journalists who had asked for his opinion on the Sri Lankan situation. “I told them I have no opinion. I came here for religious reasons.” Suddenly, a group of persons with black flags attacked him, shouting slogans against the Rajapaksa family.
Mr. Nadesan said the Tamil Nadu police should have given him advance information about the protesters waiting for him. Although he had not asked for security, the police knew he was in town since Monday. “They knew very well I was there yesterday. I didn't ask them for security at all. This is like my hometown.” The police personnel came to his rescue only after the attack began.
The policemen, who were posted for providing security, later removed the agitators from the scene. They hurriedly escorted him to a hotel from where he travelled to Tiruchi with tight protection.
Mr. Nadesan seemed bewildered by the attack. “I don't hold any government post,” he pointed out. At the same time, he said: “I don't hold these barbaric rowdies as representative of India.”
Terming it a “minor scuffle,” Deputy Inspector General of Police of Ramanathapuram range Sandeep Mittal told The Hindu that quick intervention of the police prevented the situation from going out of control. Mr. Nadesan was provided enough security in all the places he visited in Rameswaram on Sunday and Monday. He left the island town only after completing his puja. All those involved in the incident would be brought to book, the DIG said.
Based on a complaint by Ananda Dikshidar, a case has been registered against the MDMK and Naam Tamilar Iyakkam activists under Sections 506(1), 294(b), 427, 448 and 355 of the IPC for criminal intimidation, uttering obscene words, mischief, house trespass and assault. Seven persons, including Karate Palanisamy and Kan. Ilango of Naam Tamilar Iyakkam, were arrested and remanded in judicial custody for 15 days by the Rameswaram Judicial Magistrate.
Various fishermen associations held an emergency meeting in Rameswaram and passed a resolution dissociating themselves from the attack and condemning the violence.