TN govt denies nod to BJP’s ‘Vetri Vel Yatra’

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The BJP had planned to conduct the month-long Vetrivel Yatra from Tiruttani to Tiruchendur beginning on November 6 and ending on the Babri Masjid demolition day on December 6 in a bid to consolidate Hindu votes ahead of the Assembly elections next year.

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday, November 5, informed the Madras high court that it has decided to deny permission for ‘Vetri Vel Yatra’ (rally) proposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party from Friday in view of the Covoid-19 pandemic.

The BJP had planned to conduct the month-long Vetrivel Yatra from Tiruttani to Tiruchendur, covering six abodes of Lord Murugan in a bid to consolidate Hindu votes ahead of the Assembly elections next year.

Advocate general Vijay Narayan, representing the state government, pointed out that the BJP’s plea for permission to undertake the yatra was in violation of a state government order dated October 31, limiting the number of religious, social and political gatherings to less than 100 that too only after Noveember 15.

The high court was hearing two petitions which sought a ban on the yatra due to Covid-19. The petitioners said it would pose a threat to the public, and create law and order problems. They also claimed the yatra was scheduled to end on December 6, the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, which is a communally sensitive day.

Opposing the stand of the state government, advocate V Ragavachari representing the BJP argued that the state was not above the law and it had to follow the guidelines issued by the Centre which permitted such religious gatherings.

To this, the first bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said that the party could not take such a stand without challenging the state government GO that prohibited such gatherings till November 15.

“We would have challenged the GO if the state had rejected our representation seeking permission for the rally citing the GO. But the authorities concerned are yet to pass any orders on the same,” Ragavachari answered.

Noting that they were going into the merits of the case, the bench said, “It is open to the state government to pass appropriate order on the representation seeking permission for the rally.”

“If any of the parties to the petitions are aggrieved by such order, they are free to approach the court challenging the same,” the court said and disposed of the pleas (with inputs from agencies)

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