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The DMK and its allies went ahead with their anti-CAA-NRC protest rally in Chennai and other Tamil Nadu cities after the Madras High Court directed video graphing of the rally was being held despite denial of permission by the police.

The rally led by the DMK president MK Stalin, state Congress chief KS Alagiri, former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, MDMK chief Vaiko and others made its way through the main throughfares of  Chennai. People lined up on both sides of the streets shouted slogans demanding the resignation of the local AIADMK government as the rally passé through the Muslim majority areas of Chennai.

Late on Sunday,  the Madras High Court gave the interim direction on PILs opposing the rally after the Tamil Nadu government counsel informed that police have denied permission for the protest as there was no firm commitment from the organisers on owning responsibility in case of any violence. A bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan and P T Asha, however, declined to stop the rally, saying a peaceful demonstration cannot be prevented in a democratic country as it was the backbone of the democratic set up, agencies reported. Petitioners R Varaaki and R Krishnamoorthy sought to restrain the DMK from organising the protest rally, contending that such “unlawful” demonstrations would affect the life of public and can turn violent and cause unrest as in similar rallies in various other places, including Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

When the matter was taken up for urgent hearing, the government pleader submitted the DMK had given only evasive replies to queries regarding the number of people taking part in the rally and the name of the person, who is going to take the responsibility in case of any untoward incident and destruction of public property.

The court noted that a peaceful demonstration cannot be prevented in a democratic country as it was the backbone of the democratic set up.

 

“From the reply given by the respondents, it could be seen that the political party, which is scheduled to conduct the rally/procession/ protest, is reluctant to take on responsibility. However, according to us, the queries raised by the Police are indeed very relevant, it said.

The evasive manner in which a responsible political party has answered the queries gives rise to a doubt in the mind of the court that the leaders, who are spearheading the agitation, are reluctant to take responsibility in the event of any damage to the public property or any incident.

The bench then directed the police to videograph the protest and also use drone cameras, if necessary, so that the liability can be fixed on the leaders of the political parties sponsoring the rally incase of unlawful incidents.

—India Legal Bureau

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