A day after a massive rally was held in Chennai by the DMK and its allies condemning the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), DMK chief MK Stalin, MDMK chief Vaiko, VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, Congress leader P Chidambaram and 8,000 others have been booked by the city police for defying police orders, denying permission for the protest.
Tens of thousands showed up for the rally in Chennai’s Egmore on Monday. The protesters have reportedly been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 143, (Punishment — Whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both), Section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), Section 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) and Section 41 of the The Madras City Police Act (Power to regulate assemblies, meetings and processions in public places, etc).
Tamil Nadu Opposition leader Stalin led the peaceful rally and leaders of alliance parties, walked alongside him holding placards against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Cadres of DMK and other allies including MDMK, INC and VCK, holding party flags, banners and placards, marched on as the procession, taken out amid tight security and deployment of drones for monitoring, wound its way from downtown Egmore to Rajarathinam stadium, a distance of about 2.5 km.
The march took place after the Madras High Court heard a Public Interest Litigation against the anti-CAA rally past 8 pm on Sunday. The court did not place a stay on the rally as requested by petitioners; instead, the court ordered the state government and police to use drones in the city to videograph any anti-CAA rallies that are held without police permission. They further said that police action could be taken against any protests held without requisite police permissions.
Justices S Vaidyanathan and PT Asha who heard the case maintained that protests cannot be stifled in a democratic society and reiterated that there should not be violence.
(With PTI inputs)