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April 23, 2018
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Protests greet ‘Ram Rajya Rath Yatra’ in Tamil NaduAs many as 822 persons arrested for violating ban order in Tirunelveli

The western parts of Tirunelveli district witnessed tense moments on Tuesday, as the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s ‘Ram Rajya Rath Yatra’ entered Tamil Nadu through Puliyarai from Kerala’s Punalur, amid protests by political parties, including Muslim outfits.

As many as 822 persons — most of whom were cadres of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the Naam Tamilar Katchi — were arrested for violating the prohibitory order promulgated in Tirunelveli district since Monday night. They included 254 persons who were taken into preventive custody.

Rousing reception

As the yatra reached the Travancore Devaswom Board’s Karuppasamy Temple at Kottaivaasal on the Kerala border at 9.21 a.m., office-bearers of various Hindu outfits accorded a rousing reception to the participants. Though the yatra entered Tamil Nadu with just three vehicles, supporters of Hindu outfits joined it in scores of cars and motorbikes, shouting “Jai Sri Ram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.” After the yatra took more than three hours to cross a stretch of 17 km to reach Shencottai, Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police P. Ve. Arunshakthikumar detained the bikers at Ilanji.

Cadre of various political parties came down heavily on the district administration and the police for clamping a partial prohibitory order under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. They complained that the protesters were detained even as the rally was permitted. Dr. Arunsakthikumar clarified that the police had granted permission to the yatra well in advance. “Hence, the prohibitory order is applicable only to the protesters,” he said. The rath passed through the Muslim-dominant Kadayanallur without any halt. Over 1,500 police personnel were deployed along the 95-km route.

‘Hindus should unite’

At Rajapalayam, Manavala Mamunigal Mutt Jeeyar Sri Sadagopa Ramanujar received the rath in the evening. He said that if the Hindus of the country remained united, there wouldn’t be any enemies. The people of Tamil Nadu should help in the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, he said.

The rath, which arrived in Madurai at 6.30 p.m., will halt at the Ramakrishna Mutt before resuming its journey towards Ramanathapuram district on Wednesday.