Anti-nationals infiltrated protests: O Panneerselvam

Police maintained restraint, OPS tells House.

Chennai: Breaking his silence, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Friday declared that “anti-social, anti-national and extremist elements” had infiltrated jallikattu protests at Marina beach. They had “diverted” the cause of the agitation by trying to extend it till Republic Day celebrations to observe it as “black day”, he added.

Making a detailed statement in Assembly on police crackdown on protesters on Monday that saw a bloody end, Mr Panneerselvam said the police used “only minimum force” to disperse the agitators and vowed to bring to justice the “evil forces” that attempted to divert peaceful protests.

He also said a detailed probe would be conducted to find out whether policemen indulged in any excesses and that action would be taken against them if allegations were found to be true. The Chief Minister’s statement came after Opposition leader M.K. Stalin sought his response to the violent end to the week-long peaceful agitation.

“The protesters demanding conduct of jallikattu by revoking the ban continued the protests even after the ordinance was promulgated and raised issues like Cauvery, Mullaiperiyar and ban on foreign trade. A few among them wanted Tamil Nadu to be split from India and announced that they would observe Republic Day as black day,” Mr Panneerselvam told the Assembly.

“I wish to submit photographic proof to say that protesters displayed pictures of slain Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and held banners that said, “we reject Republic Day”,” the Chief Minister said, showing the “evidence”.

During the course of his speech, Mr Panneerselvam said 142 police personnel and 138 protesters were injured in various incidents in Chennai and added that 66 cases have been registered and 215 people arrested in connection with the protests.

The police, Mr Panneerselvam said, intervened only after they received information that “anti-national, anti-social and extremist elements” have intruded into the protests and were trying to incite violence. Though more than 10,000 protesters heeded to police call and left the Marina beach, only 2,000 of them refused to disperse and continued their protest.

“At this juncture, anti-social elements broke barricades at Ice House, Besant Road and Avvai Shanmu-gam Salai and tried entering Kamaraj Salai. They also pelted stones and attacked policemen following which the men in khaki used minimum force and used tear gas shells to disperse them,” Panneerselvam said.
He also said the police despite provocations like being pelted with stones and attacked by mobs, the police maintained restraint and used “minimum force” and never resorted to firing or lathicharge.

The Chief Minister recalled that one of the prime movers behind the jallikattu movement, 'Hip Hop' Adhi', had expressed displeasure over certain events like burning of national flag and decided to back out of the protests.

“The same evening, Jallikattu Federation president R Rajasekaran, Karthikeyan Sivasenapathy, Ambalathu Arasu, Rajesh and Adhi addressed the media and said the movement was a success since an ordinance has been promulgated and asked the protesters to disperse. But, the protests continued,” Mr Panneerselvam said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story