Karunanidhi vs Jayalalithaa: War over arrests

Chennai: There was high political drama in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvar district this morning as police intercepted DMK leader MK Stalin's vehicle to arrest the party's district head, Kalaivanan, travelling with him. Police wanted to arrest Mr Kalaivanan for obstructing children from going to school as part of a protest on Saturday.

Mr Stalin asked for a warrant and staged a road blockade. Although he was detained and released, the police said he was just moved to clear traffic. DMK chief M Karunanidhi, however, called this political vendetta, and said that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is deriving pleasure foisting cases against men in his party.

"This arrest is to scuttle our scheduled protest against the AIADMK government on August 1," said Mr Stalin.

In an early morning swoop, the police also arrested two DMK strongmen on land grab charges - Chennai's Chepauk MLA J Anbazhagan for forcing a paper mill owner to part with his property in Tirupur, and former minister Veerapandi Arumugam, following the third complaint against him. It was on Monday that Mr Arumugam had surrendered to police in two other similar cases, and was on bail.

AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa denied DMK's charges of vendetta and said that Mr Stalin was not arrested. "Stalin was not arrested...Land grab charges can't be described as vendetta politics," she said.

Jayalalithaa had recently said that land grabbing and forced selling was rampant in the DMK's regime and that the government had received over 1000 complaints. The DMK might see it as political vendetta, the AIADMK might call it the law taking its course, but one thing is for certain - there is more drama in store in Tamil Nadu in the weeks to come.
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