Tamil Nadu to withdraw cases against anti-CAA protesters, lockdown violators

Tamil Nadu to withdraw cases against anti-CAA protesters, lockdown violators
Ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has announced that all cases filed against those who protested against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as well as those registered against people violating the COVID-19 lockdown will be withdrawn. The CM said that around 1,500 cases registered against anti-CAA protesters under charges of causing damage to public property and preventing police from working will be withdrawn. The government has also said that around 10 lakh cases, filed in connection to lockdown violations, will also be withdrawn. However, the cases pertaining to serious offences, and against those who stopped police personnel from doing their duty, will not be withdrawn.  In a notification, the Tamil Nadu government has said that after the CAA was passed, several protests were held, including ones where copies of the law were burnt. "People belonging to certain groups conducted protests, rallies, burnt effigies, burning of the constitution in different parts of the state. During these protests, police took the necessary steps to ensure law and order is maintained. The police registered 1,500 cases against people who gave difficulties to the public, people who damaged public property and those who hindered the police from carrying out their duties,” the notification said.  "In these cases, I would like to inform you that in all other cases, except cases registered for specific offences involving violence and cases of obstruction of duty by the police, further investigation will be dropped in the interest of the public,” the notification added. The notification also states that when the first nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25, 2020, the Government of Tamil Nadu imposed a curfew in the interest of the public and announced various restrictions under the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939 and the Infectious Diseases Act, 1937. Following this, the police set up checkpoints across the state and took steps to fully enforce the curfew. Further, legal action was taken against those who violated the curfew order, those who spread rumours about the coronavirus infection, and those who spread fake news. Ten lakh such cases were registered in connection to violations of COVID-19 guidelines. "Except for cases of violence, getting an e-pass fraudulently and hindering police from doing work, further investigation in other cases will be dropped keeping in mind people's welfare,” the notification adds.  The decision to drop cases filed against anti-CAA protesters comes days after the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had addressed a gathering of the Muslim voters in Tiruppur district in an attempt to diffuse tensions in the minority community, and asked them not to ‘fear’ the AIADMK-BJP alliance. Wearing a skull cap, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had said, “An alliance is different and ideology is different. Alliance can change every time. Alliances are created for politics. Every party has an ideology and they will never let it go. Nobody has to fear that they will be affected because of our alliance. We need your support for this rule to continue.” Also read: Don't fear our alliance': TN CM EPS tells Muslim voters ahead of polls

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