In an act of aggression, the Besant Nagar police detained and released seven people of Besant Nagar, Second Avenue for drawing anti-CAA motif kolams in front of their houses.
The protesters had not sought permission from the police, saying that they were drawing these ‘kolams’ right in front of their houses. One of the protesters who wished to remain anonymous said they were arrested on charges of obstruction of public property.
The protester said, “Only one ‘kolam’ was drawn in the middle of the road. We were drawing the other ‘kolams’ on footpaths or in front of houses only. There were only five of us in that street, so I don’t know why they detained us on charges of obstruction of public property.”
A posse of police, led by an assistant commissioner, was present right from the morning, closely watching the goings-on. The police then detained the protesters.
The police did not respond to The Federal’s calls.
“We wanted to express our dissent through art, and since its Margazhi, Kolam is synonymous with it. Kolam also happens to be part of our cultural tradition, hence we went forth with this kind of protest,” said Gayathri, a protester, told The Federal.
One of the protesters, a lawyer, said people were not obliged to protest only in spaces allotted. “If the AIADMK government tells us we can protest only in some obscure corner of the city behind the Cooum where no one will see, we won’t. People can protest wherever they want and as long as we don’t block traffic and damage public property.”
Gayathri, along with some friends, bought some ‘kola maavu’ (dough to draw the pattern) and went around asking people in Besant Nagar if they wanted to join. “Some agreed and some didn’t. The intention was to express our dissent in a different way,” she said.
The police rounded us up even before we could draw 7 or 8 ‘kolams’ and threatened us with arrest. They picked us up and shoved us into the bus, saying they were arresting us for unlawful assembly. There were three lawyers who saw this and came to our help. The ridiculous part is that they arrested them as well,” Gayatri said.
“We are really living in a police state and that is exactly what this is,” she said.
‘Its crazy! We were not even sloganeering. We were just sitting and drawing ‘kolams’ on the side of the road with ‘kola maavu’ and chalk piece and they suddenly came and picked us up,” Aarti Sundar, one among those detained, said. Apart from Gayatri and Aarti, the others detained were Madan, Kalyani, and Pragathi. All of them, including the lawyers were kept at a community hall next to the J5 Shastri Nagar police station in Besant Nagar.
Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin tweeted in support of the protests. Giving a short account of the incident, he said the government was curtailing the fundamental rights of the people and ‘anarchy was on the rise’ each day.
அலங்கோல அதிமுக அரசின் அராஜகம் நாளுக்கு நாள் அதிகரிக்கிறது.
சென்னை பெசண்ட் நகரில் #CAA வுக்கு கோலம் வரைந்து தங்கள் எதிர்ப்பை வெளிப்படுத்திய,
6 பேரை அரசியலமைப்புச் சட்டம் வழங்கிய அடிப்படை உரிமைகளைக்கூட அனுமதிக்காத இந்தத் தரங்கெட்ட எடப்பாடி அரசின் காவல்துறை கைது செய்துள்ளது. pic.twitter.com/Ran4FE5r2V
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) December 29, 2019
In an act of aggression, the Besant Nagar police detained and released at least seven people of Besant Nagar, Second Avenue for drawing anti-CAA motif kolams in front of their houses.