Trichy: The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu was in for an embarrassment Wednesday, as alleged supporters of two senior party leaders — Minister for Municipal Administration, Urban and Water Supply K.N. Nehru and member of Parliament (MP) Tiruchi Siva — clashed in Trichy, leaving a lady police constable injured.
The reason for the clash, which Opposition parties have condemned and cited as a reflection of the deteriorating “law and order situation in the state, was the Rajya Sabha MP not being invited to a government function where a badminton court was inaugurated by Nehru, Siva’s son-in-law and DMK member, Karate V. Muthukumar, has claimed.
“It only shows the level of law and order prevalent in the state. Nobody is safe, not even a sitting DMK MP,” BJP state president K. Annamalai told ThePrint.
AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) also criticised the incident on social media, calling it “unprecedented in Tamil Nadu”. “The violent rampage inside a police station, raises doubts that law and order is under the control of thugs in this DMK regime,” EPS added.
Hitting out at Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, EPS said, “What is the chief minister, who has the police in his hands going to answer this?” The AIADMK interim general secretary further alleged that the people of the state have started to realise that every minute “this government continues it is only making mockery of democracy and is a threat to Tamil Nadu”.
ஜனநாயகத்தை கேலிக்கூத்தாக்கும் இந்த அரசு நீடிக்கும் ஒவ்வொரு நிமிடமும் தமிழகத்துக்கு அச்சுறுத்தலாகவும், பொது அமைதிக்கு ஆபத்தாகவும் இருப்பதை மக்கள் உணரத் துவங்கியுள்ளனர். காவல்துறையை தன்வசம் வைத்துள்ள முதல்வர் இதற்கு என்ன பதில் சொல்ல போகிறார்? 2/2 pic.twitter.com/gHiOuk23Ow
— Edappadi K Palaniswami (@EPSTamilNadu) March 15, 2023
In a statement released following the incident, DMK general secretary Durai Murugan said four party functionaries, identified by him as Kajamalai Vijay, Muthu Selvam, Durai Raj and Ramadas, had been temporarily suspended from the party and their primary membership removed, for their involvement in the alleged clash.
Annamalai has, however, called the suspensions “a typical modus operandi” of the DMK and added, “In Tamil Nadu we are shocked and ashamed and there is no further word to describe the state of affairs in the state”.
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‘Black flag protest, vehicle vandalised, and cop injured’
According to police sources, supporters of Siva who were present near the MP’s Trichy residence Wednesday, waved black flags at Nehru’s convoy as the minister was on his way to the event to which Siva had not been invited. The convoy included the cars of Trichy collector M. Pradeep Kumar, Trichy Corporation commissioner R. Vaithinathan and mayor M. Anbazhagan.
The six black flag protestors were immediately detained by police, the sources added.
But soon after the event got over, supporters of Nehru allegedly stormed Siva’s residence, and vandalised the parked vehicles, an SUV and a two-wheeler and also damaged some windows of the house.
In visuals from CCTV cameras accessed by ThePrint the men also appear to be barging into the MP’s house, pushing past the police personnel who were on duty there.
The DMK MP was in Bahrain at the time, attending the 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union according to his social media posts. ThePrint reached Siva on phone for comment but found his mobile to be switched off.
But Karate V. Muthukumar, Siva’s son-in-law and a DMK member, speaking to the media said that Siva camp members were disappointed as he was not invited to an event in his very neighbourhood. He further accused the police of failing to provide “sufficient security” to the ruling party MP when “hooligans” barged into the house and vandalised the properties.
Police sources said they have arrested four DMK workers, who they identified as Nehru supporters for their alleged involvement in the vandalism, and tightened the security at Siva’s residence.
Meanwhile, “another group of Nehru’s supporters” allegedly reached the sessions court police station, where “the Siva supporters who had waved black flags at Nehru’s convoy”, were being held.
In the CCTV footage from the police station accessed by ThePrint, a woman constable appeared to be trying to stop “the Nehru supporters” from forcibly entering the police station and is seen getting injured in the attempt. The visuals also show the two groups attacking each other with chairs and other objects.
ThePrint reached Nehru on phone, but received no response till the time of publication of this report.
The lady police identified as Shanti has been admitted to a hospital for treatment. Police sources also told ThePrint that an FIR for rioting and criminal trespass, among other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), has been filed in the case related to the clash inside the police station.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
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