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Manusmriti Row Escalates into Political Slugfest Between BJP and VCK in Tamil Nadu

BJP leader Khushbu Sundar detained by the Chengalpattu police while she was on her way to Cuddalore district to participate in a protest against VCK's Thol Thirumavalavan.

BJP leader Khushbu Sundar detained by the Chengalpattu police while she was on her way to Cuddalore district to participate in a protest against VCK's Thol Thirumavalavan.

With BJP workers staging agitations across the state demanding that Thol Thirumavalavan apologise for his remark allegedly denigrating women, the VCK cadres countered it by flash protests and they allegedly attacked saffron party office bearers at Madurai.

The Manusmriti row, simmering for days now, snowballed into a political slugfest between the BJP and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, with protests and counter-agitations being staged by the respective cadres in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. With BJP workers staging agitations across the state demanding that Thol Thirumavalavan apologise for his remark allegedly denigrating women, the VCK cadres countered it by flash protests and they allegedly attacked saffron party office-bearers at Madurai.

Actor Khushbu Sundar, who recently joined the saffron party was detained by police near here when she attempted to proceed to Chidambaram along with her party colleagues.They were later released. Thirumavalavan represents Chidambaram Lok Sabha constituency in Cuddalore District.

Police prevented cadres of both the parties from gathering in several locations including Chidambaram and adequate personnel were deployed for security. Tense moments prevailed for a while when VCK workers attempted to gatecrash the premises of a resort where Sundar was put up on the East Coast Road and they were chased away by police personnel after a scuffle.

Sundar claimed Manusmriti of yore was no more relevant and the version of the ancient text that was cited by VCK has no authenticity as well and the Constitution alone is supreme. The actor-turned-politician wondered as to why Thirumavalavan was raking up the issue now and questioned its relevance for the present times.

"Till such time Thirumavalavan apologises, the protest won't stop," she said. Asked if Thirumavalavan would be arrested, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said "FIR has been filed and they are investigating, only police can answer if he will be arrested." On preventive detention of party workers, he said it was to ensure law and order.

After L Murugan took over as the BJP's Tamil Nadu unit chief in March, today's state wide protests are the first to have grabbed attention in the political arena and on the social media with arguments being put forth for and against on the row. In Madurai, when a few office-bearers wearing dhotis with party colours visited the Collectorate, they were allegedly assaulted by VCK workers.

Thangam, an office-bearer, told reporters,"We came to the collectorate to collect some forms and we were attacked and the police did not protect us." Police said the VCK workers were removed from the spot and a case has been registered. BJP workers staged protests in cities including Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruvarur and Theni and they were detained and released later in the day,police said.

Murugan resorted to a sit-in at Madurai and cadres claimed it was against police who tried to scuttle their leader's visit to Sivaganga district to pay homage on the occasion of the 'Guru puja' of Maruthu Pandiyar brothers. Later, Murugan, along with his party colleagues including H Raja and Nainar Nagendran, paid floral tributes to the revered freedom fighters.

On Monday, when Thirumavalavan visited Erode, tense moments prevailed when BJP and VCK cadres nearly came to blows. Days ago, a video clip of Thirumavalavan went viral in which he had used a word vis-a-vis women and claimed it found a mention in Manusmriti.

The VCK chief had alleged that it was the ancient text that belittled women and not him. BJP and Hindu outfits demanded an apology from him alleging he denigrated women and Hinduism and police registered a case against the VCK chief.

VCK's allies including the DMK and Congress have supported Thirumavalavan.


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