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Saturday, May 08, 2021

Chennai social activist Traffic Ramaswamy dies at 87

A prolific activist in Chennai, Traffic Ramaswamy was also known for filing PILs in the Madras High Court against footpath encroachments, road widening and encroachments and traffic violations.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai |
Updated: May 5, 2021 8:59:11 am
Traffic RamaswamyTraffic Ramaswamy (Twitter/@Chinmayi)

Prolific social activist and crusader K R Ramaswamy, popularly known as Traffic Ramaswamy, passed away on Tuesday in Chennai. He was 87.

The activist had been admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai a few days ago for treatment. According to doctors, the activist, who had been on ventilator support, suffered a cardiac arrest and could not be revived.

Also Read | There’s no stopping traffic

A prolific activist in Chennai who was known for campaigning against the rampant poster culture in the state, Traffic Ramaswamy was also known for filing Public Interest Litigations (PILs) in the Madras High Court against footpath encroachments, road widening and encroachments and traffic violations.

Ramaswamy was also a founding member of the Tamil Nadu Home Guard.

Born on April 1, 1934, Ramaswamy earned the moniker “Traffic” after he began regulating the traffic in and around Chennai’s bustling Parry’s Corner.

A fearless activist, Ramaswamy was a regular sight on Chennai roads, where he could be seen tearing down big flex boards and hoardings erected by politicians, businessmen and the common man.

In February 2015, Ramaswamy spent four days in custody for blocking traffic and threatening a businessman while tearing down posters of then AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa.

Later that year, he contested against Jayalalithaa during the R K Nagar bypolls. Ramaswamy had stated then that his candidature was not against the late chief minister but against corruption in Tamil Nadu. However, he lost the election after securing only 4,590 votes.

Over the course of his activism, Ramaswamy made several friends and enemies, so much so that his family disassociated with him following numerous threats.

Traffic Ramaswamy’s activism also made it to the silver screen in the 2018 biopic ‘Traffic Ramasamy’, helmed by Vicky and starring SA Chandrasekhar.

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