Ailing Tamil Nadu Police against Jihad – I
by B R Haran on 05 Jul 2015 8 Comments

On the night of Saturday, 27 June 2015, organised violence was unleashed on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway and connected roads by a mob from Ambur, a town in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The violence targetted the police force and caused serious injuries to over 50 personnel and an equal number of members of the general public (mainly bus passengers), some of them severely. Public property worth over Rs 10 crores was destroyed.


The violence erupted after the death of 26-year old Shameel Ahmed, allegedly due to torture by police, while in illegal custody. Shameel Ahmed, a native of Pallikonda, worked in a leather manufacturing company in Ambur. There, he allegedly developed a relationship with 23-year old Pavitra, wife of Palani; the couple has one child.


Fearing social unrest on account of caste and communal sensitivities (Pavitra is a Hindu dalit), the management dismissed both from service on getting wind of their illicit relationship.


Later, Shameel Ahmed managed to get a job in Erode. He allegedly asked Pavitra to come and stay with him. At any rate, she seems to have joined him on 13 June.


Finding his wife missing, Palani filed a complaint in Pallikonda Police Station alleging that Shameel Ahmed had kidnapped Pavitra. But Shameel Ahmed claimed he had sent Pavitra back to Pallikonda and had conveyed the same to her family.  As Pavitra had not returned, acting on Palani’s complaint, the Pallikonda police took Shameel Ahmed for interrogation on 15 June.


After the police sent him back home after questioning, Shameel Ahmed developed some ailments and was admitted to government hospital in Ambur. Later he was shifted to Vellore government hospital, but as his condition worsened, he was shifted to Government Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital, Chennai, where he died on 26 June.


The victim’s family claims that Shameel Ahmed was illegally detained by the police for four days from 15 to 19 June in a private place and tortured brutally; he subsequently developed complications and finally died without responding to treatment. The police have refuted this.


As news of the death of Shameel Ahmed spread, the community reportedly got permission from the police to take his body in a procession for burial. But more than 500 persons gathered in strength and stormed the Ambur Police station, demanding immediate arrest of the Inspector and constables involved in the alleged torturing of Shameel Ahmed. They demanded that a murder case be filed against those police personnel.


At the complaint by Shameel Ahmed’s family, the police registered cases against Inspector Martin Premraj, Special Sub-Inspector Sabarathnam, Constables Nagaraj, Aiyappan, Murali, Suresh and Muniyan under Section 176(1) of the Cr. P.C. and placed them under suspension. First Divisional Magistrate Justice Sivakadatcham also ordered a judicial enquiry. Despite this prompt action by the Police and Judiciary, the Muslim organisations persisted with the demand of arresting the concerned police personnel, slapping a murder case on them, and resorted to violence.


The violence wreaked on Chennai-Bengaluru Highway brought traffic to a standstill. Buses, trucks, cars and even two wheelers were stoned and nearby buildings damaged.  Even as police reinforcements brought in, the mob swelled (to more than 3000 as per media reports) and indulged in violence and arson. They burnt down one van, one mini bus, four two wheelers, two police jeeps and a TASMAC wine shop. They ransacked nearby buildings, including two private clinics and Ambur Town police station. Nearby places like Nellikollai also witnessed violence.


The Police force led by Deputy Inspector General Thamizhchandran, Superintendent of Police Senthilkumari, Deputy Superintendents of Police Ganesan and Vijayakumar tried to control the mob, activists belonging to Islamic fundamentalist organisations began to target the police; more than 50 police personnel including Superintendent of Police Senthilkumari and 15 other policewomen were gravely injured and later hospitalised. Hundreds of police personnel were seen running for cover as they were attacked by sharp stones, blades, surgical blades and knifes.


A Planned Attack?


The local MLA, Aslam Basha, belongs to Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), the political face of the fundamentalist organisation Tamilnadu Muslim Munetra Kazhagam (TMMK).  He allegedly instigated the mob and though he refuted the allegations, reports indicate that Muslims traders had been asked to down their shutters as early as 7.30 pm.


Sources say that youth from outside were brought in a day earlier and accommodated by the local fundamentalist organisations. Hence, the police are investigating whether the violence was pre-planned. The Bharatiya Janata Party and other organisations have demanded the arrest of MLA Aslam Basha under the National Security Act.


The local people and Hindu organisations suspect that the episode is an instance of “Love Jihad, the enticing and trapping non-Muslim girls into love, marriage and conversion. In Tamil Nadu this is said to be quite prevalent in districts like Vellore, Dindukkal, Nagapatinam, etc., and has embroiled both unmarried and young married girls. In this instance, Pavitra, the mother of a child, went all the way to Erode. The fact that her lover had the audacity to call her family and tell he had sent her back to Pallikonda, suggests he had strong organisational backing. He was also the local head of the Indian Tauheed Jamath. 


It is pertinent that Pavitra has still not reached her home and her whereabouts are unknown. It is therefore important to investigate whether Pavitra is alive or dead, and if dead, how, and where her body is.


Post-Violence Scenario


The police could identify and arrest only 95 persons from the thousands who indulged in the mayhem. Although nearly 200 people were arrested initially, Aslam Basha’s interference and influence led to the release of many; finally the police detained only 95 persons, who have been sent to Vellore, Cuddalore and Salem prisons.


The police have formed two separate squads to find out the whereabouts of Pavitra. The Revenue Department has formed four teams of officials to investigate the loss caused by destruction of public properties.


Meanwhile a fanatic group called ‘Facebook Muslim Media’ has reported in its timeline that:


A conglomeration of 24 Muslim political parties and organisations have met the Director General of Police in Chennai and submitted a memorandum listing their various demands. The team included its convener Mohammed Hanifa, K.K.S.M. Thekalan Bhagavi - State President of SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India), Mohammed Ismail - State President of Popular Front of India, S.N Sikkandar – State President of Welfare Party and Dharvesh Rashadhi – Chennai District President of Jamath-ul-Ulema. Apart from Director General of Police Ashok Kumar, Inspector General (Intelligence) Kannan, Deputy Inspector General Ishvaran and Superintendent of Police Arularasu also took part in the meeting.


The Muslim leaders submitted a memorandum with the following demands:

-        Inspector Martin and other police personnel of Pallikonda Police station who have tortured Shameel Ahmed and caused his death must be arrested under Section 302 and a murder case must be slapped on them.

-        The family of Shameel Ahmed must be given a solatium of Rs 20 lakhs.

-        Departmental action must be taken against those police officers who lathi-charged the general public in Ambur.

-        All those general public who were arrested must be released immediately

-        Above actions must be taken immediately so as to remove the fear from the minds of the general public and prevalence of peace in Ambur.


In fairness, one may point out that in the demands submitted by the Muslim organisations, the term “General Public” alludes to one community only but has been used as a ploy to suggest that the general public supported them and joined in the violence, and thus escape from the law in the name of the general public.  


Hindu Munnani founder president, Sri Ramagopalan, issued a statement warning, “If people are driven to a situation of protecting themselves, if police themselves do not have security and protection, then the consequences would be disastrous”. He demanded that, “those who have instigated the violence, those who have spread it, those who have led the violence and those who have indulged in it must all be brought to book and the government must initiate severe actions against them.”    


The BJP, Hindu Makkal Katchi and other Hindu organisations have demanded the arrest of Aslam Basha, MLA from Ambur, under the National Security Act.


Attacks on Police by fundamentalists not new


Islamic fundamentalists attacking the police and security forces is not new Tamil Nadu and it has been going on for years. To cite a few instances, on 29 November 1997, traffic constable Selvaraj was murdered by three Al Umma activists in broad daylight, for charging them for driving without a driving license.


Eighteen months before this, four policemen were murdered by fundamentalists in Coimbatore and Madurai, including Jailer S. Jayaprakash of Central Jail, Madurai and Warder G. Boopalan of Central Prison Coimbatore.


Support from successive Governments and Political Parties


Since independence, almost all political parties have been following Nehruvian Secularism, an euphemism for pandering to minorities at the cost of the rest of society. The desire of political parties to secure vote banks has encouraged audacious elements to exploit the weakness of politicians in various ways, a practice that has become pervasive across the nation in all states. This has naturally had a deleterious impact on law and order.


One consequence, especially in Tamil Nadu, is that religious conversions, encroachment of lands, and terrorist activities have increased in leaps and bounds. In Tamil Nadu, the deliberate anti-Hindu politics of the Dravidian parties have made matters worse. As a result, there has been an alarming and steadfast increase in Christian conversions and Islamic fundamentalism over the past five decades, with no relief in sight.


The Ambur violence must be seen in this background only.


(To be continued…)  

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