Tamil Nadu rejects permit for RSS rally over law and order concerns

Updated on Sep 30, 2022 01:00 AM IST

Citing law-and-order concerns over the march, TN government officials said that, following the violence after the NIA raids on the PFI, arrests of its members, and the subsequent banning of the organisation by the Union government on Wednesday, the state police were busy in maintaining the peace.

On September 22, a single judge bench of the court had approved the RSS march and public meetings, with certain riders. (Representative use)
On September 22, a single judge bench of the court had approved the RSS march and public meetings, with certain riders. (Representative use)

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday declined to grant permission for a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) march across 49 locations in the state on October 2 through orders by different district authorities that were later challenged by the RSS in the Madras high court.

On September 22, a single judge bench of the court had approved the march and public meetings, with certain riders.

Citing law-and-order concerns over the march, state government officials said that, following the violence in Tamil Nadu after the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) raids on the Popular Front of India, arrests of its members, and the subsequent banning of the organisation by the Union government on Wednesday, the state police were busy in maintaining the peace.

The DMK government has also disallowed permission for an event at which their allies from Dalit and Left parties -- VCK, CPI(M) and CPI -- planned to form a human chain for “communal harmony” on the same day as the proposed RSS march.October 2 is the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

“There have been minority outfits protesting the ban on PFI and political parties seeking permission to hold a rally for social harmony against RSS’s march, so it cannot be allowed in the wake of these recent events,” said a senior official of the state government who asked not to be named.

Multiple petrol bomb attacks were reported in the state against Bharatiya Janata Party and RSS members in Tamil Nadu following the arrests of PFI office-bearers by NIA last week.

After the government orders, RSS’s joint secretary for Thiruvallur district, R Karthikeyan, filed a contempt of court petition against Tamil Nadu’s home secretary, the director general of police, and the Thiruvallur superintendent of police. The petition sought interim direction to permit the march, and the matter is likely to be heard on Friday by justice G K Ilanthiraiyan -- the same judge who cleared the march last week after attaching 11 conditions.

“We have moved the Madras HC seeking review of the order which has allowed the march,” said a top government official.

The court, in its September 22 judgement, said that based on previous orders of the court and the Supreme Court “it would be appropriate to direct the respondents (Tamil Nadu) to grant permission” for the route march and public meeting since the RSS petitioned that the procession wasn’t a “religious rite”.

That judgment came on a batch of petitions filed by the RSS seeking the court’s direction to state authorities to permit their procession wearing their uniform (olive green trousers, white shirt, cap, belt, black shoes) to be led by a musical band from 3pm on October 2, and thereafter to conduct a public meeting.

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.

This order was challenged by Thol Thirumavalan, MP and chief of the VCK (Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, an ally of the DMK government). But the Madras high court on September 28 rejected the appeal, saying only the Supreme Court had the appellate jurisdiction to recall a high court verdict.

Meanwhile, In the Union territory on Puducherry, by a September 16 order of the superintendent of police (east) Puducherry, the RSS march was allowed with certain conditions.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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