TAMIL NADU

Madurai police say `no' to trishul mela

MADURAI OCT. 28. The city police today denied permission for distribution of trishuls at a meeting to be addressed by the international general secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Praveen Togadia, here on Thursday.

The proposed function was sponsored by the Bharatiya Forward Bloc, a VHP ally, as part of Thevar Jayanthi to pay homage to Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar.

Police sources said the ban on the `trishul diksha' was imposed under Section 41-A of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act and Section 153-A, IPC. However, permission was granted for a public meeting to be held on the Tamukkam grounds.

The VHP and the BFB had been saying the trident distribution mela was aimed at invigorating the Hindu ethos. The local VHP leadership claimed that the initiative for Mr. Togadia's `trishul diksha' had come from the BFB.

The BFB even said he would hand over `trishuls' to 11 persons including the party's founder-president, K. A. Murugan.

However, apprehending "serious threat to communal harmony, peace and tranquillity" in the temple city, the Joint Action Council Against Communalism, comprising several organisations and parties including the Congress, the CPI (M), the CPI, the CPI (M-L), the Janata Dal (S), People's Watch, the SOCO Trust and Lawyers for Human Rights, yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Governor seeking his intervention to prevent the distribution of `trishuls'.

It also urged him to direct the police to ensure that the meetings addressed by Mr. Togadia did not violate any of the provisions of Sections 153-A, 153-B, 295-A and 505, IPC.

The JACAC even demanded that the Police Commissioner obtain an undertaking from Mr. Togadia that he would not distribute trishuls anywhere within the city limits or address any meeting, inciting violence, or induce any form of religious animosity.

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