Asserts cost of damage to public property will be recovered

As violence continued to mar many places in the State even after the release of PMK leader S. Ramadoss from jail, the government would not hesitate to ban any political party that indulged in violence, created a law and order problem, damaged public property and disturbed peace, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in the Assembly on Monday.

She also said steps would be taken to recover from the PMK the cost of the damage to public property under the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, 1992.

“The government would calculate the damage and take steps to recover the amount from the PMK,” she said while replying to a special mention made by the Opposition on the violent incidents in northern districts.

Accusing the PMK of resorting to violent methods instead of expressing its views through democratic means and functioning contrary to what was expected of a political party, she said her government would not tolerate the illegal activities of the PMK and would invoke the Goondas Act and National Security Act (NSA) against perpetrators of violence and their instigators.

Recalling the developments that led to the arrest of PMK leaders including Dr Ramadoss, his son and former Union Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and the detention of PMK MLA Katuvetti J. Guru under the NSA, Ms Jayalalithaa said public property worth crores of rupees had been destroyed in the violence unleashed by the PMK men.

Sixteen vehicles, including 14 buses, were burnt and a driver died of burn injuries. A driver and a passenger were killed in stone-throwing incidents and 11 others were injured.

A total of 853 vehicles were damaged. Moreover, 120 trees were felled and another 45 trees were burnt.

“On the one hand, he is claiming to plant trees under the banner of Pasumai Thayagam, a non-government organisation, and on the other, he is destroying them. It is a classic case of the devil quoting the scripture,” she said.

Recalling Dr Ramadoss’ message to his party cadres that neither he nor his party workers could be cowed down by the repressive measures, Ms Jayalalithaa wondered whether his remarks would amount to saying that the PMK men would not tire of throwing stones and petrol bombs and damaging property.

She said by insisting that the struggle would continue, both Dr Ramadoss and his son were actually instigating violence.

“That is why violence continues even after Dr Ramadoss was released on bail. Buses were stoned and vehicles damaged,” she said.

The Chief Minister said that bus transport was severely hit on the national and State highways in the night. In Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Vellore, Kancheepuram, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam districts, 1,601 route buses were not operated on May 1.

The government strengthened security measures, but at night, 2,267 routes were not operated because of security reasons.