Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday charged that the participants of the Chithirai festival organised by the Vanniyar Sangam of the PMK at Mahabalipuram on April 25 had thrown to the winds the norms laid down by the State police for the event, besides violating the law.
However, the police had acted in a highly restrained manner, keeping in mind the interests of the general public. She said, despite the violence, none had suffered injuries due to police action.
Replying to a special mention on this issue raised by the leaders of all parties in the State Assembly, the Chief Minister said Thirukachur Arumugam, who had sought permission for the Chithirai festival, had agreed to 16 conditions laid down by the State Police for the smooth conduct of the festival. He promised that there would be no law and order problems during the festival.
Pointing out that thousands of police personnel had to be deputed for the IPL Cricket at Chepauk and Kallazhagar festival at Madurai, the Chief Minister said despite this crunch for personnel, 1,910 police personnel including top officials were engaged in bandobust duty for the Mahabalipuram festival, where around 15 lakh people were expected to take part.
Besides, 2,724 personnel were engaged in bandobust duty in Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Tiruvallur and Vellore districts through which participants of the Chithirai festival would pass through.
Recalling the incidents that led to violence at Marakkanam, the Chief Minister said police had to open fire in the air and used rubber bullets to disperse the PMK men who were indulging in violence.
She also said when the police verified the registration numbers of some of the vehicles used by the participants of the Chithirai festival, they found that some numbers were bogus and it was further found that they had misused registration numbers given to two- wheelers for the vans. All these led to the conclusion that they had planned to create law and order problems, she added.
The Chief Minister said, in general, political and casteist outfits violate rules when they organise conferences and public meetings. When police refuse permission for such events, they approach the court, which grants permission without knowing their background. However, they flout the norms later and this causes problems, she pointed out.
The Chief Minister also pointed out that pictures of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan were seen in posters during the Chithirai festival. Recalling that Ramadoss had been boasting of guiding youth on the right path, she wondered whether he wanted them to follow the footsteps of Veerappan.
The Chief Minister also said the participants of the PMK fest also broke flagposts of other parties at Mahabalipuram, Kuzhipanthandalam, Ammal Nagar, Poonjeri, Nandimanagar, Karanai and some other places. Besides, they defaced the portraits of national leaders thus instigating casteist violence. The participants also danced on the top of vehicles and used obscene language, disturbing public peace.
The CM also referred to the letter from the superintendent of archaeological department complaining that the participants displayed their flag atop the shore temple. The monument, he said, was exposed to vandalism.
The Chief Minister announced a solatium of `50,000 each to the families of nine Adi Dravidas who lost their hutments, seven persons whose properties were damaged and one person of the other community whose hutment was damaged. She said all families who had lost their hutments would be given green houses. She also announced financial assistance of `25,000 each to the three persons who suffered serious injuries and `10,000 each to 17 people who had minor injuries.