Express News Service
CHENNAI: It was a repeat of Friday as the police thwarted the BJP’s Vel Yatra on Sunday and detained State president L Murugan and around 200 party members for a few hours. Even as the State denied permission for the rally, BJP partymen defied the order and headed for Vadivudaiamman Temple at Thiruvottiyur as part of their Yatra.
Similar to Friday’s rally, Murugan was clad in saffron shirt and held a ‘vel’ as he waved from the top of the vehicle, specially designed for the yatra. He began the procession from his house in Koyembedu, leading to traffic snarls. There was confusion that escalated into tension near the Central Railway Station after an ambulance was stuck for over 30 minutes in the traffic, held up because of the rally.
“Police allowed Murugan’s vehicle to move past the Ripon Building signal and barricaded the road, halting traffic. An ambulance with blaring siren could not move an inch for over half an hour. “Soon, an argument broke out between the public and police personnel near the barricades,” Manivannan, one of the motorists stuck in the traffic, said.
The traffic snarls peaked on the Thiruvottiyur Highway and police had to ask the cadre to walk on one side to make way for vehicles.Police allowed the rally up to the temple and detained the leaders after they held prayers nearby. Murugan spoke to the cadre from a temporary stage, before the police action.
A senior police officer told Express that Murugan had told them that he was only visiting the temple and that it was not a rally. However, the cadre turned out in large numbers, and were seen violating Covid-19 safety norms as many did not wear masks or maintain social distancing. The procession to the temple which started around 10 am reached the destination around 1 pm. Since the temple was closed, Murugan and his supporters lit camphor and raised slogans outside the place of worship.
‘BJP will emerge as a major force in State’
On a temporary stage setup near the Vadivudaiamman Temple, BJP State chief L Murugan addressed party cadre and claimed that BJP will prove its power in the 2021 Assembly election and whoever the party chooses would become the next Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. “The State government has given a wrong decision with regard to the Vel Yatra. This yatra will continue as it is a BJP event,” Murugan told reporters.