Thousands of cadre belonging to DMK and its alliance partners, including Congress, VCK and MDMK, took out a 2.5-km protest march here demanding withdrawal of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act despite Chennai Police refusing to grant permission for the agitation.
Led by DMK President M K Stalin, leaders of alliance partners like Congress' P Chidambaram, MDMK general secretary Vaiko, TNCC President K S Alagiri and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan marched the 2.5-km distance from near Egmore Railway Station to Rajarathinam Stadium holding placards and raising slogans against the CAA.
At the end of the rally, Stalin said the DMK-led alliance will not call off its protests till the CAA is withdrawn by the Narendra Modi government.
More than 5,000 police personnel were deployed to provide protection to the DMK rally even as the men in khaki deployed drones to videography the march that took more than an hour on the instructions of the Madras High Court.
The court, which neither allowed nor stayed the protest hearing a PIL on a rare Sunday night sitting, had asked the police to videography using drones if any “illegal” protest takes place.
Holding placards that said the protest march was to condemn the BJP and AIADMK for betraying the Muslim and Sri Lankan Tamil communities by passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament, the leaders walked the distance as thousands of cadre joined them.
“Down down Modi”, “Don’t try to make India a Hindu nation”, “Don’t try to hide the pluralistic society of India using the saffron flag” and “Repeal the CAA” are some of the slogans that were raised by the cadre.
“This is not just a rally. This is a contingent that can fight a war. I thank the cadre of all alliance partners and the general public for having made the rally a success. The protests won't end till the Centre withdraws the legislation. We will continue our protests till the BJP Government withdraws the CAA,” Stalin said, in his brief address to cadre.
Stalin said he thanked the AIADMK Government for ensuring “publicity” for the rally by filing cases against the protest march. Ï also thank 10,000 policemen who also participated in the protests and expressed their solidarity,” Stalin added. The DMK and its alliance partners have been vehemently opposed to the CAA and have faulted both the BJP and AIADMK for the passage of the legislation.
85-year-old Narayanappa, a life-time DMK cadre, had also come to the rally all the way from Hosur. “I came by train this morning. I will participate in every protest by the DMK till I die. I had participated in every rally organized by Kalaignar Karunanidhi and will continue to do so under Stalin too,” he said.