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Police remove BJP workers

Staff Reporter

They were trying to pay tribute to victims of 1998 Coimbatore serial blasts

— PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN

PREVENTIVE ACTION: BJP cadres, who tried to break through the police security cordon in Coimbatore on Thursday for paying homage to the victims of the 1998 serial blasts, being removed by the police.

Coimbatore: Tense moments prevailed in R.S. Puram area in the city on Thursday evening when the police removed over 400 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cadres, led by their State vice-president and former Union Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan for attempting to pay homage to the victims of the 1998 serial blasts.

Following the BJP’s plan, the police announced that the Thiruvenkatasamy Road–DB Road junction (where the BJP L.K. Advani was scheduled to address an electionpublic meeting on February 14, 1998, when the blasts took place) was not in the list of places where permission was given to political parties to conduct events. However, the BJP announced that it would go ahead with its plan to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the 19 serial explosions. The cadres included those from the Hindu Munnani, the RSS and various Hindu outfits.

Under the supervision of City Police Commissioner C.K. Gandhirajan, the venue was cordoned off from all four sides. Traffic was diverted and a three-tier security cordon was thrown around the area. Around 4.45 p.m., close to 400 BJP workers, including women, tried to reach the DB Road Junction. When the police prevented them, they tried to break through the cordon. State observer S.R. Seghar, State secretary G.K.S. Selvakumar and others defused the situation. Raising slogans against the Governments, they squatted on the road, lit torches and showered flower petals besides offering prayers for the victims. They were removed in police vehicles. Mr. Radhakrishnan, speaking to mediapersons, accused the “State and Central Governments of bowing to the extremist forces and protecting them for vote bank.” The key accused in the case such as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasir Maudany had been released, he said.

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