Tamil Nadu police today rejected charges that it had failed to act on 'targeted' attacks on Hindu outfit leaders and BJP functionaries in the state, saying such statements are "misleading and contrary to the truth."
Refuting the charge levelled in the back drop of the July 19 murder of BJP state General Secretary V Ramesh in Salem, state DGP K Ramanujam said effective action, including detention of accused under the National Security Act or the Goondas Act, had been taken in such incidents.
In a statement, he listed out the cases starting from the 2011 instance of miscreants placing a pipe bomb in the yatra route of senior BJP leader L K Advani near Madurai and said in some cases, the motives were personal and that the accused belonged to the same religion that the victim belonged to.
Citing the murder of Ramesh and last month killing of Hindu Munnani leader Vellaiyappan in Vellore among others, Hindu organisations and some BJP leaders have said members of the Sangh parivar were being specifically targeted in the state.
Rejecting the charges, the DGP said effective action was being taken against any one attacking individuals irrespective of the motive, or causes harm to any organisation or tries to disturb communal harmony.
Recalling the 2011 incident involving Advani, he said a bomb placed under a culvert near Thirumangalam was unearthed and de-activated.
"In a case registered in this regard, seven accused have been arrested and remanded. One of them was arrested last month after persistent trailing for over two years. Efforts are on to track down the remaining three accused," he said.
He also pointed out that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had constituted a Special Investigation Division to probe the murders of Ramesh and Vellaiyappan. The SID had announced cash rewards to the tune of Rs 20 lakh for information on four suspects in the case, he said.
As for the murder of another BJP functionary, party's state medical wing secretary Dr Aravinda Reddy in Vellore last year, a total of seven persons were arrested and the motive was a dispute over money transaction, the DGP said.
A BJP general council member, Pugazhenthi, was murdered in Nagapattinam last year and five persons are in the police net, with one of them being detained under Gooandas Act.
This was a case of dispute over money transaction and land and the "the deceased was a person categorized as a Rowdy in view of his past activities," the DGP said.
In Coimbatore, RSS Taluk secretary Anandan was assaulted last November which was "retaliatory in nature," and the accused Syed Abudhagir had been arrested, he said.
Early this March, BJP functionary, 'Thengaikadai' Murugan, was murdered in Paramakudi over land dispute, and four men, Raja Mohammed, Manoharan, Rafique Raja and Shahul Hameed were arrested and all of them detained under NSA, he said adding a charge sheet had also been filed.
Similarly, ten persons, including Umar Farooq and Sadam Hussain, were arrested in connection with the petrol bomb attack on the residence of Arjun Sampath, leader of a small Hindu outfit, and six persons were detained under Goondas Act, Ramanujan said.
In fact, a case was registered against Hindu Munnani Udhagamandalam District secretary Manjunath for making objectionable speech at a public meeting for which he was attacked by five Muslim youth for "allegedly offending religious sentiments." The attackers have also been arrested and remanded to custody, the DGP said.
Similarly, accused have been arrested and some detained under NSA and Goondas Act for attacks on Hindu Munnani and BJP functionaries in Udhagamandalam, Nagercoil and Ramanathapuram, he said.
Quoting these, the DGP said that the state police has taken "proper steps" and arrested the accused in cases of assault on leaders of Hindu organisations. Police protection has been provided to persons and offices considered to face threat, he said.
"In the incidents listed above, some were due to personal motive. In some cases, the accused belonged to the same religion as the victim. Statements seeking to create an impression that a large number of targeted attacks have gone unchecked or undetected or that the police have failed to take action are misleading and contrary to the truth," he said.