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Following the state police submission to the high court that permission for an RSS rally would be considered if it were not to be held on Gandhi Jayanthi (October 2), the court ordered that the rally be held on November 6. The RSS rally has had a troubled history with state governments often seeking to ban it and the courts intervening and imposing conditions. Despite court permission, the then AIADMK government in November of 2014 arrested RSS cadres as they attempted to take a route march commemorating the 1,000th coronation year of Rajendra Chola.
This year, the RSS had announced it would take out a rally in 50 places across the state on October 2. But the government did not give permission. The RSS went to the Madras high court against this. It asked for permission to take out a rally with its members in their RSS uniform and to also hold public meetings. A single judge on September 22 gave permission to the rally.
The VCK approached the high court and asked that its petition against the rally be heard on an urgent basis, which the court refused and said the party could approach the Supreme Court isntead. The VCK then announced it will organize a human chain for social harmony on the same day. Naam Tamilar Katchi offered to participate in it, so did the Left.
In 2014, for instance, the RSS had planned a rally on November 16. The AIADMK government under Jayalalithaa refused permission
The state government refused permission for the RSS rally citing the circumstances in the state due to the ban on PFI and the arrest of its leaders including from Tamil Nadu. The RSS went to court saying this amounted to contempt of court since the court had permitted the rally. On Sept 30, the court heard the contempt petition.
The state government said that there was a danger to public peace and property, as per intelligence reports from state and center. And on this basis, the permission was not given.
The court asked if the proposal to take the rally on Gandhi Jayanthi was the issue. The police side responded that it would consider permission on other days. The RSS side then proposed four alternative dates. Among the dates, the court chose November 6 and gave permission to the rally on that day. It then ruled that if permission was not given by October 31, then the issue would be taken as a case of contempt and posted the next hearing to October 31.
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The ruling Dravidian parties have been wary of these RSS rallies. In 2014, for instance, the RSS had planned a rally on November 16. The AIADMK government under Jayalalithaa refused permission, following which the RSS went to court which permitted the rally with some restrictions. But the government headed by O Pannerselvam didn’t budge. It took the RSS cadres into preventive custody.
In 2016, the RSS got permission from the high court for the rally. The court ruled that the participants shouldn’t wear half pant, the RSS uniform. The RSS uniform has undergone changes over the years. Starting with Khaki shirt and shorts with military boots, in 2016, the uniform became dark brown trousers, black shoes and brown socks with synthetic belts. In January of 2017, the rally was held.
This puts the DMK government on a sticky wicket. The court has ruled that not giving permission would amount to contempt of court. Many cite the various restrictions imposed by the court itself and ask how then could the rally not be considered a threat to public order. They cite the precedent set by Jayalalithaa on this score. The DMK has been ideologically opposed to the RSS. M K Stalin has been very critical of Hindutva and has ruled out a truck with the BJP repeatedly. But, given the court rulings, it has to strike a balance somewhere.
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