AIADMK’s intra-party scuffle gives public a hard time

According to police sources, supporters of Edappadi K Palaniswamy prevented O Panneerselvam’s vehicle from entering the party headquarters, which led to the violence.
OPS supporters raise slogans supporting their leader.
OPS supporters raise slogans supporting their leader.

CHENNAI: Violence near their headquarters in a densely populated city neighbourhood, traffic pile up because of their general council meet — ultimately, it was the general public who had to bear the brunt of the principal opposition party’s intra-party scuffle.

Residents of Avvai Shanmugam Salai in Royapettah were put to hardships and had to stay indoors for a major part of the day as supporters of two former AIADMK chief ministers hurled stones and attacked each other on Monday morning, minutes ahead of the AIADMK general council meeting held at Vanagaram.

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Both groups, in their zeal to prove one-upmanship over the other, indulged in violence, catching the city police off-guard, though former minister D Jayakumar had sought police protection at AIADMK headquarters, stating that some ‘anti-social’ elements are likely to intrude the party head office.

According to police sources, supporters of Edappadi K Palaniswamy prevented O Panneerselvam’s vehicle from entering the party headquarters, which led to the violence.

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In the riot-like situation that prevailed, 47 persons, including two policemen, were injured. Panneerselvam’s supporters broke open the locked door of the party headquarters to make way for their leader’s entry into the headquarters.

Police rushed to the scene and brought the situation under control after resorting to mild lathi charge. Royapettah police have arrested 14 persons in connection with the violence and have backed them under Sections of the IPC, including 147 (rioting), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons), 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from duty), among others.

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City police had warned of slow traffic movement on Monday morning, but motorists expressed unhappiness over the poor regulation of traffic along Poonamalee high road, where vehicles were piled up for five kilometres.

“Why should public be affected for affairs of a party?. The cadres were blocking the roads and police did very little about it. The opposition party is supposed to keep a check on the ruling government, but here they are disturbing the public, ” said K Salman, a resident of Koyambedu.

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Ambulances were struck in the traffic too, because of vehicle pile-up caused by Edappadi Palaniswamy’s vehicle convoy halting at several places along the way to meet and greet his supporters. There was pile up on Maduravoyal flyover and Koyambedu bridge too, as Palaniswamy’s convoy stopped there midway to meet the supporters. Several AIADMK cadres created a ruckus on the roads.

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After the general council meeting ended, Palaniswamy left the Vanagaram venue by 1.10pm. Police blocked the road at Vanagaram-Ambattur road junction which caused a traffic block and it took several hours for the traffic to return to normalcy, police said.

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