Violence, arson in Tamil Nadu following Jayalalithaa’s conviction
CHENNAI: Stone-pelting and torching of public
property, attacks on media persons and forceful closure of shops erupted across
Tamil Nadu on Saturday as mobs reacted to the sentencing of Chief Minister
Jayalalithaa to four years imprisonment by a special court in Bangalore in a
It all began with burning of effigies of senior DMK
leaders, including party chief M Karunanidhi, and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy
when the conviction was announced and violence rocked the state after the court
sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years in jail and slapped a fine of Rs 100
Some hours after the conviction was announced, most of
the private and public vehicles went off the roads in Chennai, leaving students
and office-goers stranded. Crowds then forced shops to down shutters. Protesters
went on the rampage in many parts of the state damaging shops.
Media persons of TV channels were attacked near Poes
Garden, Jayalalithaa’s residence, while their cameras were damaged, police
said. Several people were injured in violence in various parts of the state in
which many vehicles including public and private buses were damaged, reports
reaching the state headquarters suggested.
As the news of the conviction spread, AIADMK cadres'
became despondent and women activists were seen wailing.
Sensing trouble, DMK sought extra protection to the
party office and some of its leaders, including its General Secretary K
Anbazhagan who had impleaded in the wealth case filed against Jayalalithaa and
on whose petition the trial was shifted from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka by the
In Madurai, the stronghold of DMK patriarch M
Karunanidhi’s son MK Alagiri, AIADMK activists allegedly ransacked vehicles
parked on the road, pelted stones and smashed window panes of several vehicles
to vent their anger.
Police said that in Coimbatore, the DMK office was
ransacked by protestors who also burnt the pictures of Karunanidhi and
Anbazhagan. All the shops remained closed while stone pelting incidents were
Similar incidents have been reported in
Udhagamandalam, Tiruppur, Palladam and other areas.
Police said parts of Kancheepuram, Salem and Cuddalore
also witnessed violent incidents with protesters burning effigies of
Karunanidhi and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy whose petition led to filing of
the disproportionate assets case and culminated in her conviction.
Stones were thrown at Swamy’s residence in Chennai,
Movement of buses between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and
Kerala has been affected. Police have deployed forces in various violence-hit
An AIADMK activist S Venkatesan (65) attempted to set
himself ablaze here by pouring kerosene. He was rushed to hospital where he is
battling for life, police said.
As the protests continued, Governor K Rosaiah,
summoned top officials of the state administration, including police officers,
and reviewed the situation and directed them to initiate steps to maintain law
Police said more than 20 buses were damaged in
southern districts in stone-pelting allegedly by AIADMK workers and 20 persons
A tense situation prevailed in all southern districts,
including Madurai, Tirunelveli and Dindigul, with AIADMK workers demanding
closure of shops, blocking train and bus traffic. An effigy of Karunanidhi was
Police said more than 1000 AIADMK workers, who
indulged in violence, were taken into custody in Madurai.
Police made a lathi-charge to disperse AIADMK workers
who pelted stones at the BSNL office and head post office in Madurai. Three
AIADMK workers were injured.
An official said hundreds of AIADMK men were taken
into custody in the southern districts and they would be released later.
Many supporters of Jayalalithaa, especially women,
were seen wailing in Dindigul and Sivaganga. The transport corporation withdrew
buses at several places.