8 Detained in Chennai For Drawing Anti-CAA ‘Kolam’; DMK Slams Govt

Those detained alleged they were manhandled and that their phones were snatched by police.

Updated
India
3 min read

Eight people, including five women, were detained briefly by Chennai police on Sunday, 29 December, for drawing kolam (rangoli) outside people’s houses and common places in Besant Nagar with anti-CAA slogans. Those detained included two lawyers who went to the police station.

All of them were later released by the cops.

The police, including the assistant commissioner, who were at the location, detained the protesters and took them to the station citing ‘unlawful assembly’. The police said that those detained didn’t seek prior permission for the rangoli protest.

The protesters and the advocates were kept in a mandap (community hall) near the police station. Those detained alleged they were manhandled and that their phones were snatched by police.

DMK Hits Out at AIADMK Govt and Police

The Opposition DMK hit out at the AIADMK government for the police action, saying the detained persons were only exercising their right to protest.

In a tweet, DMK President MK Stalin hit out at the AIADMK government and said the police "has not even allowed the basic right under the Constitution" to voice dissent. DMK Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi also criticised the government for the police action against the protesters.

‘They Took Our Phones Away and Were Being Unreasonable’

Speaking to The Quint, one of the detainees, Gayathri said, “In Chennai police is not giving permission. So, we thought that there are different ways to protest and since it’s the month of Margazhi, we thought of drawing kolams to register our protest.  It’s a significant part of our culture.”

She added that 10-15 people gathered but at no point more than two people were standing together.

Protesters making <i>kolam</i> in Chennai.
Protesters making kolam in Chennai.
(Photo: The Quint)

She went on to claim that the cops had told the protesters to not make kolam on the main road following which the protesters spoke to the residents to get their permission to make the floor art outside their houses.

“All this while, they were intimidating us and saying that they will book us under some law. We asked them what law they could possibly file us under,” Gayathri added.

According to Gayathri, the cops detained five of the 18 people who were present there and when they resisted, the police lifted them off the roads.

“We called our lawyer friends and when they came, what was shocking was they were detained too. They took our phones away and were being unreasonable.  When the lawyers asked why were they being detained, the cops told that it was a preventive detention because they were helping the protesters,” she added.

Photos With #KolamAgainstCAA Shared on Twitter

Meanwhile, some users took to social media to share photos of kolams using the hashtags ‘#KolamAgainstCAA’ ‘#RangoliAgainstCAA’.

The DMK on Sunday also asked its women’s wing members to draw kolams outside their homes with slogans against CAA and NRC on 30 December, party sources cited by PTI said.

Such kolams were also drawn outside Kanimozhi's CIT Colony residence on Sunday evening.

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