75-Yr-Old Killed in TN for Supporting Modi? Police Say No
The death of a 75-year-old man in Tamil Nadu was attributed by many news reports to an alleged attack by DMK-Congress supporters because of his campaigning and support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
According to the news reports, which were mostly a syndicated report from the news agency PTI, Govindarajan, the 75-year-old man, was attacked by a "suspected supporter" of the DMK-Congress alliance on Saturday, 13 April, after he was found seeking votes for PM Modi in Thanjavur district's Orathanadu.
The accused, Gopinath, reportedly attacked Govindarajan in a fit of rage, following which the senior citizen "collapsed and died on the spot", news agency PTI reported quoting the police.
The news was widely shared on Twitter, with several people lashing out at the apparent 'intolerance'.
What Actually Happened
Now, while several media reports claim that the altercation occurred because "Govindarajan was speaking in support of PM Modi", the local police in Orathanadu told The Quint that there was no political motive or trigger behind the altercation.
“Govindarajan was a mentally unstable person. He was speaking to himself when the accused chanced upon him. The accused mistook Govindarajan as having said something derogatory at him and this led to a verbal spat. At this point, Govindaraj asked the accused “go away”, and things escalated with the accused pushing the 75-year-old man down.”Kamarajar, DSP of Orathanadu, told The Quint
How Did Govindarajan Die?
When things took a turn for the worse, passers-by stepped in to stop the altercation, consoled Govindarajan and urged him to go home. "On his way home, Govindarajan stopped at the local GH (general hospital) to get himself checked, following the scuffle. His daughter accompanied him while he was checked for minor injuries," DSP Kamarajar told The Quint.
After going home, at around 9 pm he ate some idlis for dinner and then retired in his room. Around 45 minutes later, Govindarajan’s family members found that he had passed away, DSP Kamarajar said.
Following Govindarajan’s death, the police arrested Gopinath on Sunday on suspicion of murder. He is currently under judicial remand as a probe is underway, the DSP added.
Was the Accused Affiliated to the DMK-Congress Alliance?
Even as the media, local BJP leaders and social media commentators maintain that the accused is a 'DMK-Congress' supporter, the DSP denied this to The Quint.
While Govindarajan was known to pin photos of AIADMK leaders Jayalalithaa and MGR, and more recently PM Modi owing to the AIADMK-BJP alliance, to his shirt, DSP Kamarajar told The Quint that the accused Gopinath was not related to any political party.
"The accused is a bus driver, he is not related to any political party," he said.
However, speaking to The News Minute, Ilango, a local BJP leader, alleged that Gopinath was often paid by the DMK to hold flags at their rallies.
EC Complaint Against State BJP Prez for Peddling ‘Fake News’
Meanwhile, a complaint has been filed against BJP state unit President Tamilisai Soundarajan for having shared misleading information about Govindarajan's death.
Soundarajan had first tweeted that she "strongly condemend" the death of Govindarajan, who was "brutally attacked and beaten to death by a DMK/ Congress supporter just for campaigning in favour of BJP and PM Narendra Modi in Thanjavur."
She later tweeted that those guilty of his death must be brought to justice.
A complaint has been filed by the DMK's legal wing with the Election Commission for making "defamatory statements" against the party with the intent to "create enemity and hatred and polarise the voters in the lead up to the general elections."