Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam chief T T V Dhinakaran Friday dubbed as "sadism" the arrest of his party cadres on charges of destroying some banners during the death anniversary of freedom fighter Muthuramalinga Thevar days ago. He also denied that his partymen were involved in tearing the banners. Dhinakaran, who continues his political battle with the ruling AIADMK over the legacy of late Jayalalithaa said some people had torn the banners out of sheer anger against the government.
"We have nothing to do with it..our functionaries and cadres were not involved in it," he told reporters here. On Thevar's 111th birth anniversary and 56th 'guru puja' (death anniversary) Tuesday at Pasumpon near Ramanathapuram some people had torn up flex banners that featured the images of chief minister K Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam. Against this background, Dhinakaran said rather than taking action against those who tore up the banners, slapping cases against his party men were not acceptable. The AMMK deputy general secretary said his party would approach the court and claimed that over 100 of his supporters were arrested.
"This is sadism...political vendetta and misuse of power," he said, adding his supporters were arrested just ahead of Diwali celebrations. Even some cadres of his party who had not attended the event was being taken into custody by police, he alleged. He said 21 of his partymen have obtained anticipatory bail from the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. Police had registered a case under several sections of the IPC in connection with the incident. Dhinakaran ridiculed the "claim," as reflected in the police case that he "instigated" the tearing up of banners. He said he has not lodged anticipatory bail plea and dared police to arrest him. The AMMK leader took potshots at Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, saying they were only present in the banners while his party was in the people's hearts. Dhinakaran said he had even directed his functionaries to stop tearing flex banners by some people. He pointed out that the banners had images of "Thevar Ayya and Amma" (Jayalalithaa) and told people not to tear it up. He asked why police constables deployed in the vicinity of flex, banners did not stop the vandalism.
The AMMK leader reiterated that the ruling party would not even get back deposits in the 20 constituencies where bypolls are expected. "Why so many people are agitated that we are not going to file an appeal against the High Court verdict," he asked. All the 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs backing him hold the same view and are ready to face the bypolls, he asserted. Asked if his party would forge the electoral alliance for the next year's Lok Sabha election, he said alliances would be decided during the run-up to the polls. No national party, however, has approached him for electoral ties, he said, answering another question.
(With inputs from agencies.)