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Chennai: Section 144 promulgated in Marina beach

Prohibitory orders were clamped in Marina starting Saturday night with police saying despite its warning, social media messages continued to do the rounds asking youth to congregate in the area which had witnessed week-long pro-Jallikkattu protests.

On Friday, police made it clear that Marina was out of bounds for any kind of agitation. “In the interest of preservation of peace and tranquillity in Chennai and to curtail the nefarious design of anti-socials and anti-nationals attempting to disrupt public peace and order, a prohibitory order under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code has been promulgated in Marina,” city police said in a release.

Police recalled its appeal on Friday asking public not to believe in social media messages asking them to congregate at Marina, while warning those spreading such messages of strict action. “Despite the appeal and warning, messages continue to circulate in the social media requesting the youth and students to congregate in the Marina for various purposes,” it said.

The order would be in force till February 12 and cover the areas under the police station limits of Marina, Mylapore, Ice House, Foreshore Estate, Triplicane and Anna Square, the release said. Police also released a copy of the order, issued by Commissioner S George.

By this order, all assemblies, processions, fasts, demonstrations, human chains, meetings and movement of groups were “prohibited” around Marina beach and surrounding areas, it said and warned that “anyone violating the order will be prosecuted”, it said. However, peaceful visit by families, children and walkers for recreation and relaxation will in no way be affected by this order, it said and sought the cooperation of the citizens of Chennai, and “deeply regretted” any inconvenience.

On Monday, police had dispersed pro-Jallikattu protesters who had stay put at Marina for a week.

In the prohibitory order issued by him, George said he had ‘reason to believe’ that anti-social and anti-national elements had infiltrated the pro-Jallikattu protests and despite the government fulfilling the demand to conduct the bull taming sport, such persons and miscreants “are trying to spread rumours through the social media”, inviting students and others to congregate at Marina.

They were doing so by “spreading their ideologies against the interest of the nation and the state and may again incite or lead acts of violence, mischief and rioting, that would affect the safety, peace and tranquillity of the citizens and would pave the way for damage to public property,” he said.

Further, various forms of protests were not permitted at Marina and surrounding Foreshore estate area for long, he said, adding, all assemblies, processions, fasts, demonstrations, human chain and meetings were “prohibited.” “Any person contravening this order shall be subjected to prosecution under the Indian Penal Code,” he said.

Meanwhile, Additional Police Commissioner (South) K Shankar released videos regarding the violence by alleged miscreants and pictures of protesters holding placards threatening to observe the Republic Day as ‘Black Day’ and some persons moving around with pictures of slain international terrorist Osama bin Laden. They were also seen criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Monday, police were restrained while dispersing the protesters from Marina even as many had left voluntarily following police’s appeal, he told reporters. Even when police came under attack from miscreants, who pelted stones and hurled petrol filled bottles at them, the police personnel only used minimum force to disperse them, he added. Many police personnel sustained injuries, he pointed out.