Amid a massive rally to the Secretariat in Chennai and demonstrations across Tamil Nadu against the CAA and NRC, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday announced several sops for the Muslim community, such as increasing the monthly pension of Islamic scholars and allocation of Rs 15 crore for a Haj House.
Peaceful protests were held in major towns across the state on Wednesday. A march attended by an estimated 30,000 people in Chennai was the largest among them while smaller towns, such as Tirunelveli, also saw demonstrations with large number of people in participation, mainly from the Muslim community.
The Madras High Court had on Tuesday restrained any procession by “political or Muslim organisation” amid plans by protesters to proceed to the Secretariat and lay siege to the Assembly.
The protesters were demanding that AIADMK leader and Chief Minister Palaniswami should adopt a resolution against the CAA in the Assembly during the ongoing session, which concludes on Thursday.
Defying the High Court order on Wednesday, agitators converged at Chepauk as part of their original plan to proceed to the Secretariat and lay siege to the Assembly.
However, several entry points leading to the Secretariat were blocked and the procession could not move beyond Chepauk due to security arrangements.
No Muslim political organisation was allowed to raise political slogans or party flags as protesters converged in Chennai from different corners before the peaceful gathering came to an end with singing of the national anthem around 1 pm.
Volunteers took care of drinking water, and traffic and crowd management during the protest. Almost all district headquarters and towns such as Coimbatore, Madurai and Trichy saw large gatherings.
On Tuesday, Palaniswami had asserted in the Assembly that the CAA will not affect minorities and that the opposition DMK was misleading minority communities.
On Wednesday, he hiked the monthly pension of Islamic scholars from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000. He also announced financial assistance for Islamic scholars registered with the Tamil Nadu Waqf Board to buy two-wheelers. He also announced allocation of Rs 15 crore for construction of a Haj House.
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