TN Islamic Federation Attempts To Defy Madras HC Stay On Anti-CAA ‘March’, Police Block Roads To Foil Their Plans

by M R Subramani - Feb 19, 2020 03:51 PM +05:30 IST
TN Islamic Federation Attempts To Defy Madras HC Stay On Anti-CAA ‘March’, Police Block Roads To Foil Their PlansAnti-CAA protest in Chennai (@anas_tamil/Twitter)

An attempt by the Federation of Tamil Nadu Islamic and Political Organisation (FTNIPO) on Wednesday to lay siege to the State Secretariat at Fort St George opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 was foiled by the police, who blocked all roads leading to the governance centre.

FTNIPO attempted to take out a ‘long march’ to the Secretariat, which houses the State Assembly, trying to defy an interim order of the Madras High Court that restrained the FTNIPO from taking out the march.

FTNIPO members, including radical Islamic Organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), its political outfit Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and all jamaaths of mosques across Tamil Nadu, gathered before the Kalaivanar auditorium on Wallajah Road, some 2 km from the Secretariat, which houses the State Legislature.

They then raised slogans against CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Protest leaders addressed the gathering from a makeshift dais.

Soon after, when the protesters attempted to proceed to the Secretariat, they found all the roads blocked. Therefore, they shelved their plans mid-way near the M A Chidambaram cricket stadium at Chepauk.

Then, the gathering dispersed to head home after singing the National Anthem. The protesters gave the State Government 24 hours to pass a resolution against CAA.

The FTNIPO had called for a march to lay siege to the Secretariat to force the Assembly to pass a resolution against the CAA Act. It also wanted the State to oppose the NPR and NRC.

The FTNIPO attempts are part of the Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu to force the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government to oppose CAA. The AIADMK government, led by Edappadi K Palaniswami, is being accused of being subservient to the Union government in supporting the CAA.

On Tuesday (18 February), a two-judge bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Hemalatha stayed till 11 March the taking out of any rally opposing CAA.

In his petition seeking restraint on the ‘long march’ planned by FTNIPO, petitioner R Varaaki said that agitations were being held by these organisations against CAA by spreading rumours and inciting people to create trouble.

Some leaders had gone to the extent of issuing threats to Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, he argued, pleading with the court to restrain the organisations from going ahead with the march.

Soon after the interim order was passed, the protesters said they would go ahead with the rally despite the stay. Independent MLA Thameem Ansari, who was elected on AIADMK symbol in 2016 to the Assembly and is backing the protests, claimed FTNIPO was not curbed from taking out a procession.

The protesters planned to reach the Secretariat by taking the Kamarajar (Beach) Road. Traffic on Wallajah Road came to a grinding halt but Anna Salai was not affected.

People who headed to the city's prime commercial area, Parry's Corner, and Madras High Court were forced to take a detour as police took precautions to avoid any untoward incident.

On its part, the police allowed those leading the protesters to address the gathering and raise slogans against CAA, NPR, NRC, AIADMK and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Heavy security was deployed by the police in Chennai but no one who wanted to join the protest on Wallajah Road was stopped, media reports said. Police also pressed into service drones to keep a watch on trouble makers in Chennai and other cities too.

Similar protests were held across the States in Coimbatore, Trichy, Vellore, Madurai with symbolic marches being held there. In Madurai and Coimbatore, a delegation of the protesters was allowed to meet the respective district collectors before the crowd dispersed.

FPNITO has decided to continue its protests until the anti-CAA resolution is passed in the State.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Palaniswami challenged the Opposition to show him one person from the minority community who has been affected by CAA.

Muslims in Tamil Nadu have been repeatedly assured that the CAA will not affect anyone but radical organisations such as the PFI and scare-mongers have been spreading falsehoods on CAA and the yet-to-be drafted NRC.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

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