CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu erupted in protests on Wednesday with major political parties and organisations condemning the senior BJP leader who threatened to pull down the statues of late Dravidian leader Periyar E V Ramasamy.
Tempers ran high at select places in the city where protests were held on Wednesday. DMK South Chennai district secretary and MLA Ma Subramanian led a demonstration at Saidapet demanding action against Raja. Scores of DMK cadres chanted slogans against the BJP leader.
"We will not be content with Raja's regret. He should be arrested immediately because he has been denigrating the great leaders of the Dravidian movement, Tamil language, and the people," Subramanian said.
Tension prevailed for hours at Anna Salai near the Periyar statue as a group of leaders and activists belonging to Periyar-founded Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), MDMK, CPM, CPI and Dravida Iyakka Tamilar Peravai staged protests condemning Raja for his incendiary comments on Facebook and Twitter.
Led by the general secretary of Dravida Iyakka Tamilar Peravai SP Veerapandian, they staged a demonstration demanding the arrest of the BJP's national secretary. A section of the protesters torched effigies of Raja leading to a scuffle between them and the police who were deployed in large numbers.
Irate protesters squatted on the road disrupting traffic on the busy Anna Salai. Later, the cops whisked them away, according to sources.
T Nagar witnessed similar scenes when a group of activists belonging to Revolutionary Students and Youth Association and Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Peravai attempted to lay siege to the office of Tamil Nadu BJP. When the cops foiled their bid, angry protesters staged road roko before being evicted, the sources said.
Several parts of Tamil Nadu too witnessed similar protests demanding the Raja's arrest.
On Wednesday the BJP leader sought to douse the flames by expressing regret. He said the controversial comments were posted by his 'admin' and was removed once it was noticed.
In Salem, DMK MLA 'Panamarathupatti' Rajendran led his party men to stage a demonstration demanding immediate action against Raja. DMK cadre staged protests at Cuddalore and Kurinjipadi and burnt effigies of the BJP leader.
Sources said that Madurai witnessed tense moments when a group of protesters belonging to fringe organisations tried to lay siege to BJP office. Police had to use mild force to evict them since they refused to disperse.