CHENNAI: With 1,802 cases registered in 2017, Tamil Nadu ranks third, after Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, in the number of offences against the State. The latest National Crime Records Bureau report reveals that 1,790 cases were registered under The Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. Incidentally, the state also registered five cases under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, three sedition cases, and two cases under Official Secrets Act.
The number of agitations and demonstrations is on the rise in the state resulting in damage to properties. Much of the target is buses, say law enforcers. “The main reason is that Tamil Nadu is the only state where we give maximum permission for demonstrations. Annually, we give permission to about 20,000 demonstrations,” said retired DGP and Mylapore MLA R Natraj. “Once you give a place for people to ventilate their grievances, then there is the urge to hold protests. That is one of the reasons why there is lawlessness. Moreover, we have to register a case,” said the former DGP.
With huge road network, the fleet of transport corporations turn easy target. At least 3,698 people, including 121 women, were arrested in 2017 for offences against the state, and 2,818 were chargesheeted.
In December 2017, 39 buses were damaged during a bandh call by the farmers’ associations in Kanyakumari seeking compensation for those who died in Cyclone Ockhi. A few months ago, Rameswaram witnessed its worst violence in which two government buses were damaged when a man was killed in an accident. Caste or political tensions and celebrations of leaders’ birth anniversaries invite stonepelting. “When people take to roads for civic issues or caste disputes, students or farmers hit the roads with grievances, the next consequential act is to indulge in stone pelting to vent their anger,” said a senior police official.