‘Is there a govt in TN or not?’: Brahmins protest over cutting of man’s ritual thread

The protesters said they were against Periyar if he encouraged violence against other communities.
‘Is there a govt in TN or not?’: Brahmins protest over cutting of man’s ritual thread
‘Is there a govt in TN or not?’: Brahmins protest over cutting of man’s ritual thread

A day after the poonal or ritual thread of a man was cut in Chennai, members of the Brahmin community held an agitation against the ruling AIADMK in Chennai on Thursday. Over 100 participants gathered at Nungambakkam where they proceed to demand that the state government ban the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) whose members were involved in cutting the sacred thread of an elderly man in Triplicane. Four men belonging to TPDK surrendered before the police on Wednesday.

The incident happened on Wednesday and was the result of a fallout of an act of vandalism on a Periyar statue in Vellore district by a BJP member. This came after a post from BJP national secretary H Raja's verified Facebook account which warned that Periyar statues in Tamil Nadu will also be brought down in the manner in which a statue of Lenin was razed in Tripura.

In a video captured at the protest, a participant says, "First you (TPDK) ripped off ritual threads in Mylapore. And now for several years you have been doing this. Is there a government in Tamil Nadu or not? Do we have the right to wear a poonal or not? Does the Constitution not give us the right? It is being ripped off and this is against our fundamental rights. Should this organisation (TPDK) which is responsible for this not be banned? Two people have surrendered and you say you have slapped the Goondas Act against them. Where is the proof for that?"

He further identified the TPDK as the group that attempted to make pigs wear the ritual thread on Avani Attam last year, before asking, “Can we stay in this state or not? Do you want us here or not? Let the government decide and tell us. We will write to Modi. You (the state government) immediately commented on a statue being vandalised but did you talk about the poonal ripping incident? You condemned Modi and Amit Shah for that, why are you not condemning this? We are not here to support the BJP, we just want out rights. We don't support the BJP or DK. We want our rights. I am earning and eating. Who dares to keep a hand on my poonal?"

Ramasubramanian Natesan, a participant in the protest told TNM that the Brahmin community has never indulged in violence in the state and yet was being victimised for what a BJP leader may have said. 

"This is not the first time that our rights are being violated in this manner. We all gathered because we felt like we were getting no support against this heinous task. This protest won't end here, especially when the government is failing to even comment on the matter," he warns. 

Clarifying that the group did not support any political party, participant at the venue have questioned the violence exhibited on Wednesday.

"Is this what Periyar taught you? We oppose such a Periyar who has taught you to rip off our poonals. We are not against Periyar or his statues but will oppose this effort to hurt others. We do not live by hurting others. Did we hurt anybody? Did we pull away skull caps, or chains or tear black shirts? Why did you tear our poonals?" a participant said. 

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