Chennai: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu unit President L Murugan and Vice President Annamalai, H Raja, CT Ravi and over 100 party functionaries on Friday (November 6) arrested by police in Thiruttani, as they tried to go forward with the ‘Vel Yatra’, defying the ban. The month-long ‘Vel Yatra’, invoking Lord Murugan, planned from November 6 to December 6 to cover six abodes of the deity spread across the state.

The BJP leaders had left for Thiruttani from Chennai on Friday morning to commence their Vel yatra and praying at the Murugan temple in Tiruvallur district. “I am going to pray in the Tiruttani Murugan temple, I have a right to worship according to the Constitution of India,” BJP state President L Murugan told the media, as he embarked on the journey. 

As the BJP leaders and the party cadre were about to resume the next leg of their journey after offering prayers at the Murugan temple, they were blocked by a posse of police and taken into preventive custody. 

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It is also said that a case will be registered and FIR would be filed for violating prohibitory orders (Section 144) that is in place across Tamil Nadu, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

On Thursday, the Tamil Nadu government had decided to reject permission for the month-long Vetri Vel Yatra, citing a possible second wave of Covid-19. Advocate General Vijay Narayan has informed the Madras High Court that the rejection order would be served on the BJP State unit office bearers on Thursday. 

Shortly after the BJP’s Vel yatra proceeded further away from the Chennai city, the police stopped the convoy and permitted only limited number of vehicles. 

The BJP sees the Vel Yatra as a show of solidarity with the Hindu community in the state, ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections. Given that the BJP has no representative in the Tamil Nadu Assembly or an MP from the state, it has been striving hard to establish a base in the Dravidian bastion. 

Recently, there had been controversies in the state after a Youtube channel uploaded a video with derogatory content against hymns sung in praise of Lord Muruga. The BJP functionaries and supporters had alleged that those who uploaded these videos had ties with the opposition party DMK. 

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