Activists damage a hoarding carrying the picture of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, in Chennai.
Chennai: On Thursday, a local court in Chennai will resume hearing the bail plea of three activists arrested on December 31 for bringing down hoardings of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The three continue to be in judicial custody.
These hoardings were said to have been blocking pedestrian paths in many areas across Chennai. The police charged the activists with destruction of public property and arrested them.
The ruling AIADMK had its executive and general council meet in Chennai's Tiruvanmayur on December 31. Many roads leading to the venue were dotted with hundreds of hoardings and cut-outs of Chief Minister and AIADMK Chief Ms Jayalalithaa.
The three activists, Jayaram Venketesan, Chandramohan and Akther Ahamad, are all members of the anti-corruption group Arappor. They say the police refused to register their complaint seeking removal of these hoardings, that they alleged were endangering public safety.
In one case though, they add, an inspector had accepted their complaint and acted but did not register a First Information Report or FIR.
A Basith, a member of Arappor, says, "We, as citizens removed illegal hoardings that blocked pedestrian paths after informing the police that we would act if they don't. We did nothing wrong".
In a separate development, responding to a petition filed by another social activist, Traffic Ramasamy, the Chennai Collector told the Madras High Court that she had granted the permission to put up more than 300 hoardings by AIADMK workers. The court, however, sought more specific information on other such applications and approvals over the last one year. The court also issued notice to six police inspectors.
Nakeeran, another activist, said "The Collector may have given permission for 350 hoardings. But the stretches Jayalalithaa passed through had at least 4,000 banners. None of them had the mandatory permission number. Officials don't check. They only help the ruling party."