Coimbatore, Feb 15: Asserting that Tamil Nadu has become a "training centre" for extremists, Union minister and senior BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan has claimed that the state is no longer peaceful.
Addressing a meeting organised by various Hindu outfits and the BJP to pay homage to those killed in the serial bomb blasts here on February 14, 1998, he alleged that Tamil Nadu is "becoming a camp and training centre" for such forces.
"Tamil Nadu is no longer the peaceful state ("amaidhi poonga")... Naxalites, Maoists, Tamil extremists and Islamic terrorists have joined hands against the administration, which was evident during the jallikkattu agitation last year," the Union minister of state for finance and shipping alleged.
Stating that these forces were engaged in a long-term planning for the next 10-20 years, Radhakrishnan said it was not known whether this had been brought to the notice of the government and the police department.
The massive agitation in support of jallikattu at Marina Beach in Chennai and elsewhere in the state turned violent on January 23 last year, when the agitators continued to protest despite the promulgation of an ordinance to allow the bull-taming sport. The minister accused the state government of not allowing him to pay homage to those killed in the serial blasts 20 years ago - that claimed 52 lives - during an election rally that was to be addressed by BJP veteran L K Advani.
He also said the government did not allow the construction of a pillar in memory of those killed in the blasts. Later, police briefly detained around 900 activists of various Hindu outfits and the BJP, when they gathered at a short distance from the meeting venue and attempted to pay homage to those killed in the blasts.
Meanwhile, a group of Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers performed annual rituals at Perur near here for those killed in the blasts, police said. In all, 19 bombs exploded in various parts of the city shortly before Advani was to address a public meeting at R S Puram locality.