A grandiose plan to stage Shaheen Bagh type protests to help Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) capture power in the next assembly election has startled the security agencies in the State. The recent anti-CAA violence and speed with which it spread among Muslims in other cities and their preparedness to take to streets at short notice gives credence to the existence of such a plan.
On February 14, hundreds of Muslims mostly women held protests at Old Washermenpet in North Chennai which was done without police permission. It is being backed by Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) and others. Police put up barricades and were patient despite provocations. The protesters pushed the barricades and started attacking police personnel. When it turned violent and seemed to be going out of control, the police used mild force to scatter the mob.
Protesters Target Women Police Personnel
The protesters started to hurl stones and sandals at police personnel in which several policemen including senior women officers were injured. Joint Commissioner (West Chennai) B Vijayakumari suffered an injury on her forehead, while Rajamangalam inspector Rajkumar had his hand slashed with a blade. Two women constables were hit with stones. Armed Reserve constables Kala suffered a grievous injury to her right eye while Udayakumari received deep bruises on her right cheek and shoulder.
Within seconds of the police action, in almost all parts of the Chennai city, traffic came to a grinding halt. People who return from office and the weekend travellers were hit by heavy traffic jams. The protest spread to other parts of the state like a wildfire. They shouted slogans against the police action. Edited images and partial videos were on social media and circulated WhatsApp groups to defame the police and gain sympathy for their anti-CAA protests.
The protests spread to Madurai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram and other districts within a few hours. They demanded the release of 41 protestors who were detained by police. The police were told by the higher ups to make peace with them. The protesters subsequently called off the agitation, following talks with Chennai police commissioner A K Viswanathan. On February 15, Chennai police commissioner met Chief Minister Edapadi Palaniswamy and briefed him on what had happened that evening.
A senior police officer on condition of anonymity said, “Our hands are tied. We have a family. We arrest them or take action against them risking our lives. But the political masters release them or make us scapegoats. When it comes to killing, they are merciless and barbaric which is in their blood. In this case, they have been protesting for the past two months. They have planned to create a law and order problem for the present government and acting on the behalf of a main opposition party with allies. They want to unseat the present government.”
On the February 14 protests he said, “Police were provoked in the past too but this time they attacked our senior women officers and also misbehaved with them. It is not correct to say that they have been given permission to hold protest for 72 hours continuously at this traffic bottleneck. This stretch is congested area where traffic snarls are quite common. If you see the video police never used batons. Protesters were in larger numbers than the police. Police maintained restraint but acted cleverly. When the mob pushed the barricades towards them forcefully, police patiently re-arranged them by arresting one or two in the vanguard of the crowd. Soon after our action, they spread it to other cities that they were being attacked. The protests spread to other cities with women with young children came to the streets and blocked roads. This had affected weekend travelers and people returning from office.”
Speaking on the trend of organising themselves at short notice, he said “Like a military, they keep themselves ready for protests at a short notice. They are waiting for an order to protest or to do what they are told or trained. This is a dangerous trend. For the sake of vote bank politics, no political parties support us. If we do not take action, we are squarely blamed for inaction. But we were able to prevent the mass violence and ensured that the protests were peaceful”.
DMK and anti-India Forces Behind Organised Protests
DMK-led opposition parties have been protesting against the CAA and the proposed National population Register (NPR) and National Citizen Register (NCR) since December. They have adopted novel means to take protest to masses like by organising Kolam drawing, signature campaigns and others. Pro-DMK media and social media work overtime to spread canards against the CAA and Modi Government in the state. Muslims have been misled that the CAA and NCR target Muslims alone and they would be kept in detention camps and tortured. Using this fear, Islamic fundamentalists are organising protests to keep the fear alive only to meet their political ends.
As expected, the DMK, Communists, MDMK, VCK and other similar parties condemned the police action saying they used force on those who were protesting ‘peacefully’. DMK President MK Stalin has demanded that any cases in this connection should be withdrawn and instead of calling out the violent protesters has sought action against policemen for acting swiftly.
TMMK General Secretary S Hyder Ali in a video that has gone viral, has admitted that he was behind the Chennai violence. In the video he is heard challenging the TN Police. “It is true that I coordinated the protests. I even invited them through my Facebook account. They (police) cannot do anything against me.” Acknowledging his role in the protests, Hyder Ali further says “After the Chennai attack, I asked others in the state to resort to ‘Rasta Roko’ through social media. Government can take any action against me. But I have been seeing police since 1995. If they eliminate me, my son or grandson would take my place.”, he boasts in the video.
The TN Police have arrested over 40 people in connection with the violence. A group of protesters met the Chief Minister and demanded action against police officials responsible for the action against them. They continue their protest at the time of writing this story. TN DGP J K Tripathy issued an order to senior police officers in which he states that, “In view of the developments on CAA, NRC and NPR issues, officers are directed to take charge immediately of the areas noted, take stock of law and order development and adequate precautionary measures”.
The Police have denied any harsh action and categorically stated that the images and videos circulated were edited to show them in bad light and requested the public not take it seriously.
Prominent Citizens Slam Anti-CAA Protests
Political commentator VS Manian opines that Prashant Kishore is implementing the Delhi success formula of Shaheen Bagh in Tamil Nadu. Probably he has brought the trained people from there for the protests. “It is going to be a tough time for all. The local government is unfit to rule. It is trying to placate the Muslims by increasing the allocations to them. Hope and pray that the Hindus unite and break them. In Tamil Nadu they want to dethrone the AIADMK government, which is an ally of BJP and voted in support of CAA in Parliament. They are being instigated by the DMK and its fringe elements. They are ignorant of seeing the writing on the wall that Muslims are being slowly isolated from the mainstream. Hindus have started knowing their true intention. Despite saying none would be affected by the CAA or the proposed NCR, if they continue their protests it only means that some powerful forces are behind them.
Senior journalist Senkottai Sriram observed that within an hour of the Chennai protest that turned violent, Muslim women with babes staged ‘Rasta Roko’ in Muslim majority areas of Tamil Nadu. It proved their preparedness and money power. They want to blackmail the constitutional setups like police, government, and judiciary with their protests. If any Muslim is arrested for any crime, they would demand their immediate release by gathering before the concerned police station. Muslims are like a honeycomb and the moment you touch them, they will swarm you and sting violently. “Without verifying the veracity of the message that they receive, Muslims immediately protest. If the police do not act like their counterparts in UP in handling such anti-CAA protests, the whole of India would burn”, he opined.
Avatar, a Tamil portal, alleged that they want to repeat the ‘Sterlite type agitation’ which ended in police firing in which over 70 were killed. It helped the DMK to taste victory in the Lok Sabha elections. If the Muslims protest turns violent and results in police firing, it could help them to garner votes to form the next government. With this intention the DMK is instigating the Muslims. Some Muslim outfits realised the truth but have to toe line of community leaders”, it wrote. BJP leader H Raja too slammed the attack on police personnel and in a tweet wrote “Rioters should be dealt with an iron fist”.
Bala Gauthaman of Vedic Science Research Centre said “Instead of supporting the central government which wants to prevent illegal infiltration, political parties and media are supporting anti-national elements. This is the time when all patriots should come out on streets to support police and defence personnel and express solidarity. Instead of supporting the police who were attacked by the protestors, the DMK is demanding action against them which exposes its role in the whole episode. The arrested culprits spilled the beans on the role of DMK as they said that they were instigated by the DMK to stage protests, he said.
Security Agencies on High Alert
Local media reports that nearly Rs 260 crore have been sent to mosques in TN to organise protests against CAA. It has also been divulged that Sivakasi alone has received Rs 4 crore through Islamic educational institutions. They have been instructed to involve all students of Muslim schools in such protests.
Intelligence sources have warned of a diabolical conspiracy in the recent spurt of violence and protests by Muslim mobs when the US president Donald Trump is visiting India. Some fundamentalists forces are behind the plot to create chaos in the country. Following the Intelligence alert, police have banned unlawful processions, protests for 15 days in Tamil Nadu. A team of IB sleuths are camping in Tamil Nadu and probing those who are suspected to be behind the violence and are instigating protests.