BJP leaders detained for undertaking Vel Yatra without govt permission

Senior BJP leaders including state chief L Murugan and Union MoS G Kishan Reddy were among those detained by the police for defying the government orders.
BJP's L Murugan and other leaders in Tiruttani
BJP's L Murugan and other leaders in Tiruttani
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The Tiruvallur police detained BJP State President L Murugan, Union Minister of State G Kishan Reddy and other senior leaders of the party for attempting to undertake the Vel Yatra from Tiruttani despite permission not being granted by the state government. The BJP leaders including Murugan, Kishan Reddy, H Raja, CT Ravi and Annamalai had left for Tiruttani from Chennai on Friday morning to pray at the Murugan temple there.

Visuals from Tiruttani showed BJP leaders and cadres trying to embark on the Vel Yatra after they offered their prayers at the Tiruttani temple. While L Murugan and a few other senior leaders were in an open vehicle, dozens of party workers surrounded the vehicle, waving BJP flags. However, when the leaders tried to go further, they were blocked by a contingent of policemen, who asked them to get down the vehicle. As the leaders got down the vehicle, they were led to a bus and were taken into preventive custody. The police reportedly said that the leaders will be released only around 6pm on Friday. The Thiruvallur SP confirmed that an FIR will be registered and arrest will be recorded soon for violating the prohibitory orders under section 144 that’s in place across Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday informed the Madras High Court that it had denied permission for the Vetrivel Yatra. The state counsel said that there is a possibility of a second wave of coronavirus and hence it is not conducive to conduct the yatra as it would risk further transmission. However, the BJP leaders started from Chennai in a convoy to Tiruttani. BJP workers were stopped at Nazarathpet, about 25 kilometres from Chennai. Five convoys were later allowed to proceed to Tiruttani after the state chief said that they were going to pray at Lord Murugan’s shrine. “I want to pray. I have a right to worship. The Constitution of India guarantees this, that's why I am travelling towards Tiruttani,” Murugan had told reporters earlier.

The BJP leaders reached Tiruttani at 12.30 pm on Friday. The Vetrivel Yatra was planned by the BJP in honour of Lord Murugan and with an eye on consolidating the Hindu votes across Tamil Nadu ahead of the 2021 Assembly Elections. The yatra was scheduled from November 6 to December 6, with leaders and workers visiting six abodes of Lord Muruga. However, opposition parties raised objections stating that the yatra was set to conclude on December 6 - the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid as well as the Rememberance Day of Ambedkar.  

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