The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, on Tuesday made a fervent appeal to the people of Kerala not to succumb to machinations of “ill-wishers and unscrupulous mischief-mongers” in the matter relating to Mullaperiyar dam. She called upon the political class of Tamil Nadu to desist from making inflammatory speeches.

Ms.Jayalalithaa said it had come to her notice that Ayyappa devotees from Tamil Nadu on pilgrimage to Sabarimala had been attacked in Kerala. Vehicles bearing Tamil Nadu registration plates were being vandalised. Similarly, Tamil establishments in Kerala and even journalists and professionals from Tamil Nadu who were there on official work were under threat.

She also called upon the media to exercise restraint and report the issue responsibly and objectively.

In the appeal to Kerala people, she said, “Please do not indulge in acts of senseless violence and vandalism over an imaginary non-issue. Please do not destroy the mutual trust, esteem and goodwill that exist between the people of the two States – which have been painstakingly built up, not just over the last six decades, but over centuries,” she said in a statement here.

She said, “Do not let whipped up passions cloud your reason and better judgment… I also call upon the political class of Tamil Nadu to desist from making inflammatory speeches on the issue, which would vitiate the cordial relations that exist between the people of the two States.”

Ms.Jayalalithaa said the violent developments were alarming and based on imaginary, unfounded fears, which had been fuelled by irresponsible positioning by vested political interests.

She reiterated that there was no justification to believe that the dam was unsafe or was likely to collapse, bringing a deluge upon Idukki and surrounding districts. The dam was well maintained and periodically reinforced. Its safety was being constantly monitored. To doubt its safety merely because it was 116 years old was sheer ignorance.

There had been widespread panic in recent times in the wake of a rumour that the dam stands on an earthquake-prone zone. She quoted a study of the seismic map of the country. There was absolutely no basis for fear that an earthquake will cause the collapse of the existing dam. These facts were known to all concerned in Kerala. Yet, for some vested reasons they have preferred to allow a fear psychosis bordering on mass hysteria to build up all over the State over the alleged lack of safety of the dam.

The photo has been removed on December 22, 2011