After 16 years, more than 1000 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists carried out a route march in Chennai from Rajarathinam Stadium in Egmore to Chintadripet on Sunday. It was to celebrate the anniversary of four people, Saint Ramanuja, Guru Gobind Singh, BR Ambedkar and Subhash Chandra Bose.
The event was organized by RSS Chennai Chapter. The march was earlier organized at the Kamarajar Salai but was later shifted to Egmore due to the imposition of Section 144 at Marina Beach.
Wearing white shirts and khaki pants with black caps, the activists marched for more than 1.5 kms. An RSS activist told TNIE that previous attempts to organise the march were not sanctioned by local authorities. Marches took place simultaneously in Salem, Kanchipuram and Puducherry too.
Condemning decisions by successive governments lead by Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi in denying permission for such marches, RSS leader Anand Venkat told TNM, â€śThe Government was under lot of pressure. Sometimes even anti-national groups like the Popular Front of India want to conduct marches. They need to learn to differentiate between the good and bad groups. In addition to this, there was a constant attempt at minority appeasement. A lot of cheap politics was at play.â€ť
Questions have been raised over why the state government or police did not challenge the courtâ€™s decision permitting the rally and whether this was a clear sign that the current leadership was soft pedaling on the RSS. â€śWe have no relationship with the State Government nor do we have a disconnect,â€ť says Anand Venkat.
"We got police permission 3 days back. March was supposed to be at Marina but police said it would be interpreted in the wrong fashion. We readily agreed to change of location. We won the case in court and followed due procedure. How can anyone stop us?â€ť he asked.
BJP state president Tamilisai Soundarajan was also present at the Chennai event. Police were deployed in adequate numbers for security reasons, with entry to Rukmini Lakshmipathy Salai remaining blocked for outside traffic, reported The New Indian Express.
In 2016, the Madras High Court had permitted RSS to conduct marches in 14 places on November 6 or 13 in Tamil Nadu. The court had asked them not to indulge in any unlawful activities and not to raise any slogans. Moreover, the court had said that the cadres should wear full pants during the march. They had moved to the court after police and district administration denied permission.
Inputs- Priyanka Thirumurthy