Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday (February 17) sought to justify the police action against anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters in Chennai’s Washermanpet area on February 14, blaming the agitators for resorting to violence when police asked them to disperse.
The chief minister’s justification came when the issue was brought up for discussion during the ongoing budget session in the state assembly on Monday. Meanwhile, the DMK staged a walkout alleging the Speaker did not allow them to discuss the prospects for passing a resolution against CAA in the House.
The issue pertains to the anti-CAA protests in north Chennai’s Washermanpet area on February 14, where the police resorted to lathi-charging on the agitators. Speaking about the incident and other anti-CAA protests, he claimed the demonstrations in the state did not witness a single untoward incident so far.
The protest is on at Washermanpet from February 14, and is being dubbed “Chennai’s Shaheen Bagh,” in social media. A congested neighbourhood, Muslims form a sizable chunk of population here. Two streets serve as the protest venue and volunteers have put up a huge pandal to provide shade.
The chief minister also claimed the protests organised on February 14 did not have requisite police permission. He said some Muslim outfits had sought permission for staging a protest in Washermanpet on February 23. “But the Muslims in that area staged a protest on February 14 without prior permission.”
“The police arrived there and requested the protesters to disperse but they went into an argument with the cops. Since the police had no other choice, they detained about 40 men protesters. When they were put in the bus, they damaged the front windshield of the bus,” the chief minister told the assembly.
Subsequently around 6 pm, he added, a large number of protesters gathered in the area. As police further requested them to disperse, the protesters resorted to hurling stones, water bottles and slippers, resulting in injuries to two women constables, a woman IPS officer and a male inspector, he said.
In order to contain the violence, the police detained about 82 protesters, the chief minister said. “During the unrest, a 70-year-old person named Fazurullah died due to natural reasons. But, the protestors claimed he died in lathi-charging. Based on this rumour, many protests were organised across the state,” he said.
The chief minister added that the protests continued over the weekend and even on Monday. “All necessary arrangements has been made to prevent any kind of violence,” said the chief minister. He added “Amma’s (late Jayalalithaa) government” will not allow any measure that may go against the minorities in the state.
“Such anti-CAA protests are being held in many parts of the state in the last couple of months. Proper security arrangements were ensured during all those demonstrations and they concluded without any untoward incident. But on February 14, some miscreants trying to instigate a violence,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, a young Muslim couple got married at the protest venue and the groom held a placard against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens as the marriage was solemnised.