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I have not given any bandh call in Coimbatore on October 31, BJP T.N. unit chief Annamalai tells Madras High Court

The BJP Tamil Nadu president says the issue is premature and the party is yet to take a call on the format of the protest

October 28, 2022 05:11 pm | Updated October 29, 2022 12:32 am IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu BJP president K. Annamalai. File

Tamil Nadu BJP president K. Annamalai. File | Photo Credit: M. PERIASAMY

BJP State president K. Annamalai on Friday told the Madras High Court that he had not given any call for a bandh in Coimbatore on October 31.

Appearing before a Division Bench of Justices Paresh Upadhyay and D. Bharatha Chakravarthy, his counsel R.C. Paul Kanagaraj said the party was yet to decide on the form of protest.

Responding to a public interest litigation petition filed against statements made by leaders of other parties with respect to the bandh, he said the issue was premature, and the party was yet to take a call.

The judges recorded his submission and adjourned the PIL petition to November 1 with an oral observation that the court would wait and watch what form of protest the party resorts to on October 31. They also told Additional Advocate General J Ravindran that it would be the duty of the State to maintain law and order and, therefore, it might not require any court order to perform its duties.

The Bench wrote that no interim order was required in the present case, since the party’s State president had denied having given any call for a bandh, and the State, too, had submitted that it required no court direction to discharge its duty.

V.R. Vengadesh, owner of Teacher Publishing House in Coimbatore, had filed the PIL petition.

The litigant said the BJP leaders had called for the bandh to condemn the State government’s alleged negligence in investigating the October 23 car blast though, according to him, the State had taken effective action. He said the State police had arrested six individuals in connection with the blast, and had decided to hand over the investigation to the NIA. It had also decided to constitute a special wing to prevent such incidents. Further, it had been decided to establish three new police stations in Karumbakadai, Sundarapuram and Goundanpalayam to strengthen security. Sufficient police personnel had been deployed in Coimbatore city to prevent untoward incidents.

After the State government’s decision to hand over the investigation to the NIA, the Union Home Ministry, too, had passed orders on Thursday, enabling the NIA to take up the probe. In such a scenario, a bandh in the city was unnecessary, he said. Nevertheless, BJP functionaries were pressuring the traders, industries and educational institutions to close their premises on October 31, he alleged. He said no political party or organisation could cripple normal life.

Also Read | NIA must first probe BJP leader Annamalai, says Minister Senthilbalaji

Representing him, senior counsel V. Prakash urged the court to declare the bandh call illegal and issue a direction to the government to prevent political parties from calling for a bandh or a strike.

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