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The ruling DMK has hardened its stand against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activities in Tamil Nadu after the Coimbatore car blast and the subsequent criticism of State BJP leaders who alleged ‘failure of intelligence machinery’ and Governor RN Ravi complaining of delay in handing over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Hours after the RSS cancelled its route marches in Tamil Nadu scheduled for November 6, HR and CE Minister PK Sekarbabu, known as a devout Hindu, came down on RSS saying that the purpose its route marches is to create communal riots in Tamil Nadu.
The Minister, always seen sporting a tilak on his forehead also said the RSS did not have any concern for the people, adding that the Chief Minister would take the right decisions to keep the State as a peaceful haven. Sekarbabu, who is seen more as a field worker than the DMK’s ideological face, surprised everyone and became the first minister to hit out at the RSS, signalling that the State government is ready to take on the Hindutva parivar.
Hours after the RSS cancelled its route marches in Tamil Nadu scheduled for November 6, HR and CE Minister PK Sekarbabu, known as a devout Hindu, came down on RSS saying that the purpose its route marches is to create communal riots in Tamil Nadu
The DMK government’s attitude towards the Hindutva groups had changed after the car blast and the vociferous criticism of BJP leaders who went to the extent of announcing a bandh in the communally sensitive Coimbatore and postponed it indefinitely following differences within the party and lack of support among the people, especially traders.
Chief Minister MK Stalin’s decision to hand over the investigation to the NIA took the sting out of the saffron party’s campaign. But, he had a taste of how an incident like the car blast could be used by the BJP to taint his government. After the car blast, Annamalai who alleged ‘failure of the State intelligence machinery’ said 60 per cent of intelligence officials belong to one religion and they were monitoring his party instead of checking ‘terrorist activities.
The Muslim outfits who are in alliance with the DMK have not opposed the State government’s support to the PFI ban. However, the DMK, banking on the traditional support of Muslims and other minorities could not be seen as supporting the activities of Hindutva groups while suppressing Muslim outfits.
Before the blast, when the RSS announced its route marches, the DMK government appealed for a ban on the processions in the Madras High Court only after demands by its allies. However, when the rallies were allowed by the High Court, the State government did not act when its allies pressed for an appeal against this in a Division Bench of the High Court or the Supreme Court.
The government’s strong opposition also resulted in the Madras High Court imposing conditions for the route marches, finally forcing the RSS to cancel them
Finally, the allies of the ruling party VCK and Left parties announced a human chain protest on October 2 which received support from DMK’s parent organization, Dravidar Kazhagam and Vaiko’s MDMK. Finally, the government did not allow the RSS route marches on October 2 but also disallowed the human chain protests on the same day.
The scenario changed dramatically after the Coimbatore car blast and the BJP’s bid to cash in on the incident. This time the government did not give permission to RSS route marches in parts of Coimbatore. The government’s strong opposition also resulted in the Madras High Court imposing conditions for the route marches, finally forcing the RSS to cancel them.
The conditions imposed by the court included that the participants cannot carry sticks, lathis or weapons that may cause injury; no one should sing songs or speak ill of any individual, caste, or religion and not say anything in favour of organisations banned by the government of India.
The court also accepted the police decision of not allowing route marches at six places in the State, where the situation is not conducive. They are Coimbatore, Mettupalayam and Pollachi in Coimbatore district, Palladam in Tiruppur district and Arumanai in Kanniyakumari.
Besides, the DMK’s opposition to the RSS could have helped to erase apprehensions among its allies who suspected that Stalin had shifted to a soft saffron approach. The visible cracks between the ruling party and its allies look cemented although they are not seen together on the same platform as before. All the allies have already supported the DMK in its demand for recalling Governor RN Ravi and signed a petition to be submitted to the President on the issue.
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