Alert sounded over anti-CAA stir

Top brass warned about possibility of protesters storming govt. offices

March 13, 2020 01:37 am | Updated 04:01 am IST - CHENNAI

Maoist leader Srimathi, left, who was arrested by the Q Branch CID police, seen with other cadre.

Maoist leader Srimathi, left, who was arrested by the Q Branch CID police, seen with other cadre.

A high-level of security alert has been sounded across Tamil Nadu following intelligence inputs that anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters are planning to storm government offices and launch an indefinite dharna.

Senior police officers have been sent to major cities to monitor the arrangements to prevent any congregation of pro- or anti-CAA protesters near government buildings, offices of elected representatives in the State, police sources said on Thursday. Quick Reaction Teams have been stationed at vantage points and the surveillance stepped up over vital installations.

At the police headquarters, Director-General of Police J.K. Tripathy reviewed the security scheme with Additional Directors General of Police Jayant Murali, Shankar Jiwal, Sailesh Kumar Yadav and Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal who have been posted in Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Tiruchi and Tirunelveli respectively.

“We have intensified patrolling at vulnerable places and enhanced police presence at check-posts along roads leading to the coastline and inter-State borders. Plainclothesmen have been deployed at areas of public gathering such as including cues of worship, to keep tabs on anti-social elements,” Mr. Tripathy said.

Police sources said any congregation of anti-CAA protesters in a public building would lead to a situation where the groups favouring the new law also gathering to disseminate their views resulting in a possible clash.

“Police would not allow any gathering near government buildings or offices of public representatives. Since no permission for agitations relating to CAA had been given, such gatherings would be treated as unlawful and appropriate action as per law would be taken,” a police officer said.

Maoist link suspected

In a related development, sources in the intelligence agencies said Maoist leader Srimathi alias Shoba alias Savita coming out of her hideout was part of a strategy to establish contact with leaders of anti-CAA groups and extend support to them.

The woman was allegedly part of a senior level group of Maoist leaders operating in the trijunction forest belt of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

She was arrested by the Q Branch CID police at Anaikatti in Coimbatore district on Tuesday.

“The arrest of Srimathi is a major setback to the Maoist activities of the Westen Ghats Special Zonal Committee operating in the trijunction. She is involved in more than a dozen cases and is wanted by the Karnataka and Kerala police. Srimathi is carrying a bounty of ₹4 lakh on her head. We have seized a mobile phone, a pen drive and some literature promoting the Maoist ideology from her possession,” Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Internal Security) N. Kannan said.

‘Present at encounter’

Investigators in the Q Branch said Srimathi was present at the scene of encounter in Agali forest zone in Kerala’s Palakkad district where Maoist leader Manivasagam was shot dead by the police.

“We had a tip-off that she was coming out of the forest for a specific assignment. Special teams were keeping a close watch in the Anaikatti area and nabbed her,” another police official involved in the operation said added that the gadgets seized from her were sent for analysis.

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