Chennai, Oct 15: Amid rumours, rituals and police cases, a host of anxious people are waiting for some good news on their Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa. It has been over three weeks since the Tamil Nadu chief minister was admitted to the Apollo Hospital.
Seven days have passed since a medical bulletin was issued. While the CM is being attended to by the best doctors, outside on the streets the situation is tense.
Amma's followers are out on the roads praying. In the past couple of days one has witnessed unique rituals being performed. Outside the hospital there are vendors making a quick buck selling Amma merchandise. On the other hand, the cops are on a spree filing cases against anyone who speaks about the CM's health even if it is in private.
Cases, rituals and rumours
A week back we got to witness on television, a man hanging upside down. His body was clipped to steel ropes and he was dangling in the air. A very gruesome image, but the man himself says that he was bearing the pain so that his Amma recovers soon.
In another incident, a man slept on a bed of thorns for 24-hours praying for the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. He designed a bed of thorns which was made of five types of poisonous thorns. He took a vow that he would lie in a meditative state for 24 hours.
In another ritual at RK Nagar, which is Jayalalithaa's constituency, a rather unfortunate ritual took place. Pictures of young children cropped up with their faces pierced with metal rods as they took part in a ritual organised by party workers. The children were seen walking in a procession.
PMK leader S Ramadoss described the incident as a "human rights violation". He alleged that of the hundreds of people who took part in the procession, there were more than 20 children, aged 5 to 12.
While on one hand rituals are being carried out galore, on the other the police have gone into an overdrive mode. Over 20 cases have been booked so far against those spreading rumours about Jayalalithaa's health.
Some have alleged that there are several cases which have been filed just on the word of an AIADMK leader. People have alleged that the police are not distinguishing between rumour mongering and discussion.
There was one particular case in which two persons had been arresed only for discussing the issue. They had not even posted anything on their social media sites, it has been alleged.
Meanwhile, prayers outside the Apollo hospital continue. Street vendors are seen making a quick buck selling Amma merchandise.
Pens, wallets, chains are among the merchandise that are being sold outside the hospital. Vendors claim that they make nearly Rs 2,000 per day. Anyone who comes to the hospital to inquire about Amma's health picks up something from the vendors.