One of the highlights of the documentary was the confession of Jainulabdheen, president of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, who explains how his organisation attacked film director Mani Rathnam’s house by throwing bombs in the aftermath of the release of his movies Roja and Bombay, and how he threatened Kamal Hassan by citing Mani Rathnam’s case. – Thamizhchelvan
Policemen’s heads were broken; women police were molested; in fact the police force was running for life! All this happened when organized violence was unleashed on the night of Saturday, 27 June 2015 on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway and connected roads by a mob from Ambur, a town in Vellore district. Over 50 police personnel were seriously injured as also an equal number of members of the general public, including bus passengers. Rs. 10 crore worth of public property was destroyed.
The violence was planned as a response to the death of one Shameel Ahmed in police custody. Shameel Ahmed was arrested on charges of allegedly cheating on a 23-year old Scheduled Caste girl, Pavithra, wife of one Palani, in the name of love.
The violence was extremely gory due to stone pelting, assault, arson and destruction. Although the state had witnessed jihadi mobs in action a few times earlier, the magnitude of this ‘Mob-Jihad’ was the first of its kind. It evoked comparisons with Kashmir and Palestine. Juvenile boys were seen pelting stones on police force, police vehicles and public transports. We could see youth indulging in arson and violence.
Shameel Ahmed died on 26 June 2015, in Chennai; on the evening of 27 June by 7 pm, his community in Ambur downed their shutters and started assembled on the highway and connecting roads. Houses and shops of innocent Hindus were attacked and ransacked. While indulging in the attacks, the mob reportedly said, “What job do the police have in our area?” As the attack on the police force escalated, the men in khaki removed their uniforms and escaped. Cops who were caught by the mob suffered severe injuries and women cops were also hurt and some were molested. Many were admitted to government hospitals in Vellore and Ambur.
The President of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), Jawahirullah, formerly of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), had the gumption to visit the police officers in hospital. Ironically, those hapless and innocent women police complained to him without knowing that his organization was allegedly involved in and the behind the violence. The documentary shows the women police constables telling him, “Extremists attacked us without even considering that we are women”.
The state has become so unsafe for women that the women constables have sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister and the Director General of Police saying, “Do not send us on duty to places of riots and violence. We will be attacked and molested. Higher officials would safeguard only themselves”.
The documentary asks some pertinent questions: “Why didn’t the politicians and human rights activists condemn this act of terror? What is the answer to the sufferings of innocent Hindus who were in no way connected with the issue and lost properties worth ten crore rupees?”
On mob demand, seven policemen were suspended for the death of Shameel Ahmed, but no punishment was meted out to those who attacked and assaulted the policemen and women. Even those arrested in the aftermath of the violence were released days later.
This kind of ‘mob-jihad’ has become the order of the day in the state. With Ambur as the backdrop, the documentary takes us to Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur and Chennai, where jihadis struck at will indulging in Mob-Jihad with ease.
On 14 October 2014, at S.P. Pattinam in Ramanathapuram district, local sub-inspector Kalidas was attacked with a knife by an extremist, Saiyed. He fired in self-defense, resulting in Saiyed’s death. A huge mob gathered on the road and started attacking public transports. The documentary shows victims saying that buses were stormed and Hindu passengers selectively attacked. It asks, “What is the answer for the Hindus who were attacked by fundamentalists in the guise of protesting against the police?”
But buckling under pressure from Islamic organisations, the AIADMK government slapped a murder case on sub-inspector Kalidas and sanctioned a solatium of Rs 5 lakh to the extremist’s family.
During the parliamentary elections, Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Muruganandam was attacked by a mob on 14 April 2014, while trying to enter a Muslim-dominated area in Mallipattinam to canvas for votes; some fundamentalists objected and refused entry. When he stated that it was his democratic right to seek votes from citizens, he was manhandled and a group started attacking him and his supporters. Thereafter, the police refused Muruganandam permission to enter the area and advised him to depart from that area and seek votes from Hindus on the other side.
Between September 14-18, 2012, Muslim outfits mobilized thousands, including women and children, and hit the arterial roads (Mount Road and Cathedral Road) close to the American Consulate to protest against the movie Innocence of Muslims. They demanded that You Tube remove the trailer of this movie, which was uploaded from America.
The crowd indulged in violence and American Consulate was attacked; vehicles were stoned and police were not spared. The entire stretch of Mount Road was used for namaaz and the violent protests continued for four days, throwing traffic out of gear for several hours a day. On these days too, Hindus were also attacked.
The documentary shows Jainulabdeen, President of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, openly threatening that his organization would take law into its hands if You Tube did not remove the trailer of the movie. He threatens, “If the clipping is not removed from You Tube and as long as it remains there, this nation and the world will burn every day. Wherever the producers of this movie and their supporters are seen, a kind of situation will arise wherein our people will become emotional and take law into their own hands”.
For the first time in this country, the American Consulate remained closed for four days. The AIADMK government did not take any action against the marauders, but made a scapegoat in the Chennai Commissioner of Police and transferred him out. Nothing was done for the Hindus affected by this riot, nor was there any compensation for the loss of public properties.
In January 2013, Vishwaroopam, a Tamil movie produced by actor Kamal Hassan, faced the ire of Islamists. Though the movie talked only about Taliban terror, 24 Islamic outfits hit the streets and protested against the release of the film. In an act of appeasement, the government imposed a temporary ban. The Chief Minister conceded through a special press meet that she couldn’t provide security to all 524 cinema theatres and that the government would facilitate negotiations between Kamal Hassan and the Islamic outfits.
Yet, when a few social welfare organisations warned of closing the government-owned TASMAC liquor retail outlets, the AIADMK government had provided police security to almost all the 6000-odd outlets across the state. Citing this, the documentary questions the Chief Minister about why her government could not provide security to 524 theatres when it has the capacity to provide security to thousands of liquor outlets.
In course of her 30-minute press meet on the issue, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa made a special mention about “Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamath”, saying that with 7.5 lakh members it is a pan-Indian organisation. Islamists welcomed her statement by pelting stones and throwing petrol bombs at some theatres in the state. Posters and graffiti were destroyed. Fundamentalists threatened that they would not allow movie businesses to function. However, no arrests were made, possibly under government orders.
One of the highlights of the documentary was the confession of Jainulabdeen, president of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, who explains how his organisation attacked film director Mani Rathnam’s house by throwing bombs in the aftermath of the release of his movies Roja and Bombay, and how he threatened Kamal Hassan by citing Mani Rathnam’s case.
Jainulabdeen explains how they dealt with Kamal Hassan and his team: “Should have seen them during our negotiations; they were shaking and quivering; they were not courageous but fear struck. Our people were talking to Kamal Hassan referring to what happened to Mani Rathnam. When they told him that Mani Rathnam was fortunate as the bombs thrown at his residence didn’t explode, and that he would have the same fate if he releases the movie, the man was shaken and he simply sat down. They would not release even if they had finished production”.
What is the government waiting for?
It is more than a month since the documentary is released and it shows the perpetrator of a heinous crime owning up to it. But, neither the police seem to take any action nor does the state government order them to do so. And the Jihadis continue with their activities!
Such is the sad state of affairs in Tamil Nadu.
The documentary in Tamil can be seen on the HINDU KURAL website.
(To be continued…)
» Thamizhchelvan is an independent journalist in Chennai.