Tamil Nadu police are carrying out crackdown at places where illegal weapons are being made in several districts of the state just before the urban local body polls scheduled for February 19.
During the rural local body elections of nine districts of Tamil Nadu in October 2021 also, the police had conducted similar crackdowns with the state police chief, camping at Madurai to give directions to the officers.
A senior police officer at Madurai told IANS, “We have conducted raids at several strongholds of a few political parties including those with affiliations to the ruling party and has confiscated several machetes, sickles, axes and even country made guns at some places.”
However, the officer said that since the crackdown in October 2021, there is a considerable reduction in illegal weapons. Police said that in areas of South Tamil Nadu including districts of Madurai, Dindigul, Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram, and Theni, where fights used to take place between Dalit outfits and Thevar communities, often leading to murder, there is an uneasy calm.
Police attribute this to the strong measures taken by the force after the DGP directly camped at Madurai and took effective measures against the making of weapons and turf wars.
The Tamil Nadu special team of officers has also cracked down on several hideouts in Northern Tamil Nadu and Western Tamil Nadu rather than Southern Tamil Nadu. Sources in the state police told IANS that in Chennai also the police are on search at some places linked to certain rowdy elements who are inside jails.
While the local body elections are closely fought, the results are mostly decided by low margins.
Surulikumaran A., a DMK leader from Theni, told IANS, “If police are strong enough, no goonda element will raise his head and this government has taken a special interest in curbing violence including political, caste-based, and gang rivalries.”
“Tamil Nadu DGP, C. Sylendrababu is a no-nonsense officer and he will break the backbone of the gang war that was taking place earlier in the state. With the crackdown on goonda elements in October 2021, there is a huge fall in the number of criminal activities including gang wars in these parts of the world.”
Tamil Nadu police are also tracking the presence of criminal elements who are outside prison either on parole or after getting cleared by courts. Another major aspect the police are looking into is the caste-based fights and the possibility of retaliatory attacks.
The special team of police has also apprehended a few blacksmiths who were involved in the making of machetes, sickles, and country guns. Police had directed all the lathe owners and blacksmiths to keep a list of people who buy sickles, axes, and matchets for farming or domestic purposes, and those who have not kept a proper record are being interrogated in police stations.
With the urban local body polls coming up on February 19, the state police do not want to leave any chances and the DGP has directed the team of officers to be on their toes all the time to effectively curb any violence.