CPM workers, others held for protest

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Chennai, Jan 14 (UNI) More than 1,500 cadres of various political parties, including the CPI(M) and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Muslim organisations, were today arrested for staging demonstrations opposing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the city in the view of his alleged involvement in the 2002 Godhra carnage.

Both the CPI(M) and VCK were allies of the DMK-led DPA in Tamil Nadu.

Police sources said over 1,500 workers were arrested for staging agitations in various parts of the city.

Over 1,000 activists of the Anti-Fascist Front (AFF), a conglomerate of 12 organisations, including political parties like VCK, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) and Periyar Dravida Kazhagam (PDK), carrying black flags, were arrested when they attempted to lay siege to Kamarajar Arangam, where Mr Modi addressed a function organised by Tamil Political Weekly ''Thuglaq''.

Among those arrested were Dalit leader and VCK President Thol Thirumavalavan, VCK MLA Selva Perunthagai and their supporters, and members of TMMK, TNTJ and PDK.

When they assembled near the Thousand Lights Mosque to proceed towards the Kamarajar Arangam, police arrested them and took them to a marriage hall.

About 500 CPI(M) workers, displaying human skulls, reminding the gory Godhra incident, and carrying placards were arrested when they staged demonstrations in front of Chennai Collectorate and Panagal Maaligai at Saidapet in North Chennai.

They also criticised AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa for hosting a lunch in honour of Mr Modi for his victory in the recent Assembly polls in Gujarat.

All the arrested were released later.

Police sources told UNI that posters by Muslim outfits had sprung up in various districts, opposing Mr Modi's visit and describing him as a 'Merchant of Death' for his alleged role in the Godhra carnage.

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