TAMIL NADU

Muslims defy ban, stage demonstration

VELLORE, DEC. 6. Thousands of Muslims staged protests in the districts of Vellore, Cuddalore and Villupuram to mark the 12th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

Nine children were among the 369 people taken into preventive custody in Vellore district for defying a ban on rallies and demonstrations.

The arrested included 137 activists of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK), who staged a demonstration in front of the Central Telegraph Office here.

Besides, 21 TMMK volunteers were arrested for staging a demonstration in front of the Jolarpet railway station.

One hundred and ninety volunteers of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath (TNTJ) were arrested when they tried to take out a rally from the Quaid-e-Milleth ground in Pernambut, demanding constitution of a Special Fast Track Court to expedite all cases relating to the Babri Masjid demolition.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," the volunteers said, vowing to continue their protest till they obtained justice. Nine TNTJ volunteers were arrested when they held a demonstration in Arakkonam.

Twelve volunteers of the Hindu Munnani were arrested when they planned to take out a cycle rally from Gengaiamman temple in Sathuvachari to the Jalakanteswarar temple here and offer worship in 108 temples on the way in connection with their observance of the day as "Hindu Renaissance Day." All the arrested persons were released in the evening.

Our Cuddalore Special Correspondent writes

Over 2,500 TMMK activists and the Tamil Nadu Thowheedh Jamaath, along with their family members, were arrested in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts for defying police orders. At Chidambaram, the security personnel subjected the devotees to screening with metal detectors and checked their bags before allowing entry into the Natarajar and Thillai Kali temples. The Jamaath members who gathered in front of the Cuddalore Head Post office raised slogans urging the Government to set up a fast track court to resolve the issue.

The secretaries of the Cuddalore unit of the Jamaath, A. Abdul Razak and N.M. Akbar Ali, said the police had denied permission for taking out a rally in a peaceful manner. However, the Jamaath defied the ban and courted arrest.

They said that soon after the demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992, the then Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao, had promised to rebuild it, but till date it was not done.

The TMMK members, who gathered under the leadership of S.H. Amiruddin, State deputy general secretary, at the head post office insisted that the mosque be reconstructed at the same place.

At Villupuram, the Jamaath members led by Mohammad Siddiq, State vice-president, were rounded up when they attempted to take out a rally.

The TMMK volunteers led by Mustaq, town secretary, were arrested when they gathered in front of the mosque (near the Anna statue).

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