At least three incidents of attacks on elderly Brahmins which involved the forcible removal of their poonal (sacred thread) have been reported in Chennai in the last two days.
After an attack on a Mylapore priest on Monday, two other attacks were reported in Triplicane and T Nagar. “They beat him up and threw away his poonal,” said Mangalana Gurukka, an actor, who complained to the police after a group of ten to twelve people beat up his 78 year old father, Vishwanathan Gurukka.
“He was returning from the temple when they surrounded him and him . Since it was dark he couldn’t see,” said Gurukka.“They kept yelling ‘Periyar Vazhaga’ ,” he said explaining that incident had occurred on Monday evening.
However, separate attacks on Brahmins continued on Tuesday allegedly conducted by members of the Dravida Viduthalai Kazhagam, of which six are said to be in police custody. In another attack a 12 year-old boy was targeted.
In a similar incident on another priest, Santhana Gopal, aged 71 ,was returning to his house in West Mambalam when a gang of people surrounded him and snatched his poonal.
The third incident at Ice House involved another temple priest, Ranganathan Iyer, aged 65 who was returning home from the Parthasarathy temple, when a group accosted him and tore his pooonal.
According to police, four DVK activists were taken into custody on Monday and two were held on Tuesday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu unit president Tamizhisai Soundararajan said she was shocked and condemned the attacks.
However, major political parties in the state were silent on the issue.
BJP leader H Raja, on the other hand, suspected the hand of the Dravida Kazhagam’s president, K Veeramani to be involved in the attacks. He then called for a ban against the party and also demanded the arrest of its leader . DK’s Veeramani had earlier courted trouble after he presided over a thaali-removal function, an event which was denied permission by the police.