Ramadoss arrest sparks violence in Tamil Nadu

Ramadoss arrest sparks violence in Tamil Nadu

State-owned transport buses damaged in protest

Tension gripped several parts of Tamil Nadu amid widespread violence and road-roko since early Wednesday to protest the arrest of the OBC Vanniyars-dominated PMK founder-leader Dr S Ramadoss and several of its top functionaries for inflammatory speeches. They were also charged with violating the undertaking given to Police at the “Vanniyars Youth Festival’ at Mamallapuram recently.

At least three State-owned transport buses and 100 other vehicles were damaged, particularly in North and North-Western districts of Tamil Nadu, including Kancheepuram, Vellore, Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Kumbakonam and Puducherry UT, where the PMK is strong, as miscreants resorted to acts of arson and stone-pelting, Police sources said.

While Dr Ramadoss, who had earlier dared the Police to arrest him, was lodged in the Tiruchirappalli Central jail in the wee hours, other top functionaries remanded included PMK President G K Mani and its acerbic MLA, Kaduvettu Guru.

A former PMK MLA, Tirukkachhur Arumugam was held for allegedly desecrating the ASI-protected ‘Shore Temple’ at Mamallapuram, 60 km from here.

Angered by the arrests, in acts reminiscent of the ‘Vanniyar Sangam’s ‘reservation agitation’ in the mid-1980s’, other PMK cadres and activists came out, cut trees in several places and blocked vehicular traffic.  Inter-State long distance bus travel, particularly to neighbouring States like Karnataka, were badly affected past Tuesday midnight, as PMK men resorted to ‘raastha-roko’, Police sources said, adding, about 3000 PMK men were arrested on Wednesday across the State.

Meanwhile, former Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, the PMK’s junior boss and Ramadoss’ son, speaking to reporters in Chennai, demanded a full-fledged judicial probe into the incidents of violence that took place on the Vanniyars’ Youth Festival day on April 25, when groups of PMK youth allegedly clashed with Dalit groups en route to Mamallapuram.

Dr Anbumani also offered an unconditional apology on PMK’s behalf for section of his party-men climbing over the famous ‘Shore Temple’, a protected ASI heritage monument at Mamallapuram that day.

“It is wrong, it should not have been done, I apologize for the act of the workers,” Anbumani said. Claiming that the PMK Youth Festival show was “hugely successful”, he blamed the Dalits party VCK cadres for the violence that day.  If the Tamil Nadu Government did not institute a judicial probe by a sitting High Court Judge, the party would approach the Court for the same, added Anbumani. Additional Police reinforcements have been rushed to the tense areas to avert further untoward incidents.

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