THE last few days have seen a surge of violence in Coimbatore district and neighbouring areas in Tamil Nadu as the Hindu Munnani, (a part of the Sangh Parivar) let loose a reign of terror. The incidents began after the murder of their leader Sasikumar and the bandh called by the organisation. Many activists of the Munnani and associated organisations gathered outside the hospital and there was a planned and concerted outbreak of violence. There were quite a few incidents of arson in which shops and establishments owned by Muslims were targeted. The neighbouring Tiruppur district also saw sporadic acts of violence.
The CPI(M) Tamil Nadu state committee condemned both the murder of Sasikumar and the violence by Sangh Parivar outfits. G Ramakrishnan, Tamil Nadu state secretary, in his statement said, "Rioters always tend to use incidents of killings as a pretext to indulge in violence. The police must have anticipated this."
In another letter to the Tamil Nadu DGP, he listed out the affected areas as well as public and private property that was damaged. The events of the past few days clearly show the planned and motivated nature of the acts committed by miscreants of Sangh Parivar outfits. They have attacked Muslim-dominated areas, shops owned by Muslims and places of worship. They have also looted many shops, a classic example being the daylight robbery of an establishment, the video of which has gone viral on social media. Autos, buses, police jeeps, nearly 50 bikes, shops, CPI(M) and DYFI offices and jewellery shops have also been attacked.
G Ramakrishnan also noted how the police were silent spectators. It was expected that Hindu Munnani cadre would indulge in violence. The police should have acted accordingly and not allowed thousands to gather at the hospital, the statement said. The police should also have prevented rioters from moving freely through Muslim-dominated areas. A two-wheeler rally was also allowed. Some police personnel are suspected to have communicated publicly that "'M's had killed Sasikumar" and this intensified the chaos. The police technically banned the rally but ended up allowing it for nearly 10 kilometres. CPI(M) cadre immediately went to the spot where violence was taking place and demanded that the police act immediately, but some policemen are reported to have said that "This is the right time to (attack) Muslims."
The CPI(M) immediately met the district collector and urged the authorities to maintain peace in Coimbatore. They have also met with all parties. Members of the DMK, DMDK, TMC, Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, CPI were also signatories to the petition submitted to the collecdtor. A demonstration showing unity and peace took place before Race Course police station. Thousands gathered for the rally and pledged to work to maintain communal harmony. Later, a team led by T K Rangarajan visited the city on September 25 and spoke to the victims.