Angry AIADMK supporters spilled into the streets of Chennai pelting stones and setting buses on fire after a trial court convicted party leader and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in an 18-year-old disproportionate assets case on Saturday.
Governor K Rosaiah summoned the summoned the chief secretary and the director general of police to take stock of the law and order situation in the state, which was threatening to go out of control.
By afternoon, at least three people tried to set themselves on fire, protesting against the court’s sentence of four years imprisonment and a Rs100 crore fine on their leader. Some supporters attacked DMK workers outside party leader M Karunanidhi’s house, which is not very far from Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence in Chennai.
Angry mobs stopped trains and disrupted road traffic and some directed their rage at journalists reporting on the high-profile corruption case, injuring several of them.
AIADMK supporters started pelting stones at the house of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who as Janata Party president had filed the corruption case against Jayalalithaa in 1996.
“Dangerous situation in Tamil Nadu. Centre should declare President’s rule for two months,” Swamy tweeted moments after the court’s verdict.
However, DMK leaders said they did not want President’s Rule or even an early election although the judgment vindicated their stand.
“The verdict shows that howsoever high we may be, the law is above us,” DMK treasurer and senior leader MK Stalin said.
The BJP and the Congress were cautious in their reaction to the verdict against a former ally.
“It is a part of the judicial process. This is not the final verdict. There are options available before her to appeal in a higher court,” BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, adding that this was a sensitive issue and it was not proper to play politics on it.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said the party respected the judiciary’s decision, although it was “for the AIADMK to give an appropriate response”. He said one has to bear in mind that the process had to be completed.CPI leader D Raja said the conviction would have far-reaching implications in state and national politics, though there was no threat to the AIADMK government as it enjoyed a majority.