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BSP chief K Armstrong's murder: Opposition says law & order has sunk in Tamil Nadu

Armstrong (52) was murdered by a six-member gang on Friday night outside his residence in Perambur with the police maintaining that the killing could be a 'revenge' in retaliation for the broad daylight murder of Arcot Suresh, a notorious gangster, in August 2023.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 14:23 IST

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Chennai: The murder of K Armstrong, Tamil Nadu chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), outside his residence in the heart of Chennai has exposed the “deteriorating” law and order situation in the state, which also witnessed killings of district-level functionaries of political parties in the past week.

Armstrong (52) was murdered by a six-member gang on Friday night outside his residence in Perambur with the police maintaining that the murder was a “revenge” killing in retaliation for the broad daylight murder of Arcot Suresh, a notorious gangster, in August 2023. 

“There is no political motive behind the murder,” Sandeep Rai Rathore, Chennai Police Commissioner, told reporters on Saturday. 

As the murder sent shock waves across the state with leaders from all political parties questioning the law and order situation in Tamil Nadu, the Greater Chennai Police arrested eight people, including close relatives of the slain Suresh.

‘Ponnai’ Bala, brother of Suresh, is believed to have confessed that he planned to kill Armstrong on the birthday of his elder brother. However, Congress and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) claimed the people detained by the police are not “the real murderers” and demanded that the culprits be arrested soon.

“Armstrong and Suresh, both Dalits, were rivals for a very long time. Their recent differences were over a gold trading scam. Suresh’s gang believes that he was killed by one Jayapal and his gang based on instructions from Armstrong. This seems to be the motive,” a source in the know of investigation said.  

Armstrong, who faced several criminal cases in the past but was cleared of them, is a noted figure in north Chennai and was popular among youngsters belonging to the Dalit community. His supporters blocked the road outside the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) where a postmortem of his body was conducted and held a road roko demanding transfer of the case to CB-CID.

The murder comes just days after Shanmugam, a district-level AIADMK functionary, was murdered in Salem and months after Tirunelveli District Congress President was found dead in his farm house. The incident also comes amid concerns over an increase in the number of crimes against SC/ST in the state.

Armstrong, who was a councillor in the Greater Chennai Corporation, was the chief of the Tamil Nadu unit of BSP, which hardly has any presence in the state. BSP chief Mayawati, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, and BSP leader Aakash Anand are among the national leaders who condemned Armstrong’s murder and demanded strict action against the murderers.

Chief Minister M K Stalin, who is under attack from Opposition parties for failing to stop political murders, said the culprits have been arrested overnight and promised that the guilty will be brought to book.

Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami alleged that there was no fear of law or police in Tamil Nadu and he has nothing to talk about the law and order situation when the state unit chief of a national party is hacked to death in the heart of Chennai.

BJP state chief K Annamalai said there is no place for violence and brutality in the society, but this has become the norm in Tamil Nadu in the last three years of DMK rule. “Stalin should ask himself whether he has the moral right to continue as Chief Minister of the state,” he asked.

Actor and Tamizhaga Vetri Kazhagam chief Vijay asked the Tamil Nadu government to take necessary precautionary measures to prevent such heinous crimes from happening again. “I request the government to maintain law and order without compromise and ensure everyone's safety,” Vijay added.

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Published 06 July 2024, 14:23 IST

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