The Chennai police detained the protesters for unlawful assembly and released them soon after.

7 people detained in Chennai for drawing anti-CAA kolams on the road
news Anti-CAA Sunday, December 29, 2019 - 10:03

The Chennai City police on Sunday morning detained five residents who had gathered in Besant Nagar area to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) in a unique manner by drawing kolams on the streets. Those detained include four women and one man -Gayathri, Madan, Arthi, Kalyani and Pragathi.

Two advocates, who then went to the station, were also subsequently detained by the police. The protestors along with the advocates have been kept at a community hall next to the J5 Shastri Nagar police station in Besant Nagar.

On Sunday morning, a handful of citizens armed with white and red kolam powder took to the streets of Besant Nagar, sketching kolam pattens along with the words ‘No CAA’, ‘Vendam CAA’, etc.

Speaking to TNM, Gayathri who was among those detained said, “These are citizens of Tamil Nadu, a State which has a culture of celebrating art, dissent and rationality. We want to be able to put small kolams like this. It is a central aspect of the month of Margazhi. We are living in a police state where we have to beg for permission to put a 6-dot kolam. This is unfortunate. If they are going to clamp down on dissent on this level, there is going to unhappiness throughout society.”

When they were informed that they will be detained by the police, Gayathri and those gathered were surprised. “Is it wrong to draw kolam? We’re only doing it outside homes and not on public roads. How can this be unlawful assembly? I have the right to express my dissent? We are not vandalsing anything. If they don’t like the kolam they can always remove it. Why should they detain us,” she asks.

Assistant Commissioner Vinoth Shantharam V who gave the orders for the citizen protestors to be detained said, “We have the right to do so. The small group will keep growing and might become a law and order problem. We have to prevent it at this stage.”

Advocate Swaroop who was heading to the station spoke to TNM saying, “Two senior advocates, Yogeshwaran and T Mohan, have also been detained. We do not know the sections they have filed on them yet. I’ve been told that they will be remanded and taken to Saidapet Magistrate next.”

After 10.00 am on Sunday, an hour and a half after they were picked up, all 7 of them were released by the police.

(This is a developing story)

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