Traffic Ramaswamy, an 83-year-old activist fighting to remove illegal hoardings across the city, was assaulted by AIADMK workers for trying to bring down the banners outside the MGR memorial in Marina Beach.
In a video of the incident, a Hyundai i10 can be seen parked across the famous MGR memorial by the Marina beach in Chennai. On top of the car sits Traffic Ramaswamy and in the backdrop are three gigantic hoardings of the AIADMK party, with a picture of the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the middle. As the police try to get Ramaswamy down, a flying slipper hits the old man in the head.
Ramaswamy alleges that the hoardings are illegal and has been fighting for it to be taken down. AIADMK cadres can then be seen assaulting the man with slippers. The video also shows a woman walking towards the old man with a broom. All this while, the city police do not react, taking swift action.
Tamil Nadu has struggled with the menace of illegal banners and hoardings for a long time now, without success. In November 2017, the Madras High Court ordered for all illegal hoardings to be removed after a 32-year-old reportedly crashed into an illegal hoarding, ahead of MGR's centenary celebrations, and died.
In February this year, a motorist who was travelling to Conoor sustained a head injury after an illegal banner dedicated to CM Edappadi K Palaniswami crashed and fell on his head.
Illegal hoardings for superstar Rajinikanth also cropped up along a 6-km stretch on a Maduravoyal main road in March.The hoardings incited huge protests by activists. Ramaswamy had even visited Maduravoyal to protest against the hoardings. Following this, the actor apologised to the public and asked his fans to not put up hoardings.
Despite several protests by activists, illegal hoardings by various political parties in the state, including the AIADMK and the DMK, continue to mushroom.
And as for the assault of the aged activist, a case has been registered in the Anna Square police station against Ramaswamy for disrespecting a hoarding of a former Chief Minister.