Special Correspondent

Stones thrown at office building, agitators want Centre to take action against Vedanti

15 BJP members injured

H. Raja’s house also attacked

CHENNAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s State headquarters in Chennai was attacked on Sunday, even as the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam staged a demonstration near the BJP office protesting against the reported remarks of the former BJP Member of Parliament Ram Vilas Vedanti against DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. In Karaikudi, BJP leader H. Raja’s house was attacked.

Miscreants threw stones at the office building, damaging windowpanes. A flag post of the party was uprooted.

Fifteen BJP members, including some women, suffered minor injuries, G. Kumaravelu, vice-president of the State unit of the party, told reporters.

The incident took place around 10-15 a.m., when the DMK members, led by the Information Minister Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, and the DMK north and south district secretaries, Balaraman and J. Anbazhagan, gathered near the South Boag road end of Vaidyaraman Street, where the BJP office is located, and raised slogans against Mr. Vedanti and BJP senior leader L.K. Advani.

The agitators wanted Mr Vedanti to withdraw his remarks and the Union Government to take action against him.

Around 11 a.m., all those who took part in the demonstration courted arrest. Among those who participated in the agitation were M. Subramaniam, Chennai Mayor, and Mr. Anbazhagan. Mr Ilamvazhuthi, who spoke to reporters at the end of the demonstration, said his party conducted the stir in a “peaceful manner.”

According to Mr. Kumaravelu, the attack was also carried out in other parts of the State. The party’s flag posts in Villupuram were damaged.

The Hindu Munnani’s office in Chindatripet in Chennai was attacked, he said.

Describing the attack as an organised act, Mr. Kumaravelu alleged that it was carried out by the DMK with the help of the police. Before the demonstrators gathered, the Joint Commissioner of Police (South) G. Dorairaj had assured him and other members of the BJP that their party office would be protected and that there was no need for worry. In fact, they were asked to remain inside and lock the gates. Tamizhisai Soundararajan, general secretary of the State unit, wanted to know if the DMK was sending out a message that no party opposing its brand of politics should exist in the State.

Mr. Dorairaj said: “A few persons pelted stones. They were instigated by the BJP members who came out of the office and said something.” The police officer said he would not call the incident an “attack.”

Denying the police officer’s statement, Mr. Kumaravelu said a police complaint would be lodged. His party would present a memorandum to the Governor.

BJP State president L. Ganesan and the national president Rajnath Singh had been informed of the attack and the State unit’s core committee would meet on Monday morning.

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