Joy turned into anger and cheers into jeers following a seesaw in media reports on the fate of AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa whose bail plea was rejected by the Karnataka high court on Tuesday.
Read: Jayalalithaa to stay in jail, Karnataka HC rejects bail plea
Celebrations kicked off near the former chief minister’s Poes Garden bungalow and spread to other parts of the city when at around 3.40 pm television channels reported Public Prosecutor Bhavani Singh saying he was not opposed to conditional bail.
Supporters of Jayalalithaa celebrate after rumours that her bail plea was accepted at the high court in Bangalore. (AFP Photo)
"Amma is innocent and will also be out jail," shouted an overjoyed Shanmugavalli, a Jayalalithaa supporter, struggling to be heard over the din of firecrackers bursting around her.
Many broke into song and dance as supporters, high on optimistic reports from social media and TV channels, celebrated the AIADMK chief’s expected homecoming.
Amidst tears and prayers, Jaya fan club waits for her release
“I heard the state government will be sending a plane to fetch her,” said party representative Selvaraj, flashing the victory sign.
But in 20 minutes the festivities came to a grinding halt. Jayalalithaa’s bail rejected: these three words stunned the revellers into shock, despair and confused anger.
Supporters of Jayalalithaa seen grieving after the bail plea was rejected by Karnataka high court, in Bangalore. (Kashif Masood/HT Photo)
"It is not true, is it?" was the question on everyone’s lips as they tapped into their phones for updates.
Reports of a bus being set afire and attacks on an Udipi restaurant – serving cuisine from Karnataka – in the city’s MGR Nagar came in as angry Jayalalithaa supporters directed their ire at soft targets. In Trichy, there were reports of some Karnataka buses being pelted with stones.
Chief minister O Panneerselvam stepped in, concerned about the escalating violence, and instructed police to maintain law and order while asking the party cadre to remain calm. "Do not do anything that will bring the government into disrepute," was his message.
HT Analysis: Jayalalithaa lodged in jail while Chautala, Lalu are out on bail