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April 24, 2018
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Palaniswami rejects demand to ban rath yatra in Tamil Nadu; Stalin arrested‘A government cannot be selective in its approach towards a particular religion,’ says CM

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Tuesday rejected the demand of the DMK and Congress for banning the Ram Rajya Rath Yatra in Tamil Nadu, saying that all religions had equal rights and it was the duty of the government to protect the democratic right.

“A government cannot be selective in its approach towards a particular religion and ban its activities,” he said while responding to Opposition leader M.K. Stalin’s demand for a ban during a calling-attention motion.

Pointing out that the yathra, organised by Ramdoss Mission Universal, had travelled through five States peacefully, he also accused Mr. Stalin of garnering political mileage by raising the issue.

The DMK members raised slogans and the House plunged into pandemonium for almost 20 minutes. Manithaneya Jananayaka Makkal Katchi member Thamimun Ansari sat on the well of the Assembly and expressed his opposition.

As his efforts to rein in the DMK members failed, Speaker P. Dhanapal ordered their expulsion from the House. He also expunged the speech made by Mr. Stalin, who later staged a road roko. He along with the DMK members were arrested.

When the Congress leader K.R. Ramasami sought to raise the issue, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam said the Congress members should keep in mind that Congress-ruling Karnataka and Communist-ruling Kerala had also granted permission for the yatra.