Bengaluru/New Delhi: Law enforcement authorities in Tamil Nadu increased security arrangements in Chennai and other parts of the state on Tuesday, after the death of M. Karunanidhi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) patron and former chief minister.
Adding to the complications was the state government’s rejection of a proposal to bury Karunanidhi at the famous Marina Beach, raising doubts over a ceremonial funeral.
Karunanidhi, who completed 50 years as the head of the DMK a few days ago, died at Chennai’s Kauvery Hospital on Tuesday.
“The state government and the police have heightened security all through the state and several additional companies of police personnel have been deployed. We always anticipate trouble or tension in such cases and we are ready to provide whatever help is needed. So far, no request has come for additional troops," said a senior home ministry official, seeking anonymity.
The police are taking no chances as situations like this have spun out of control in the past—the most recent being the 2016 death of J. Jayalalithaa, another political stalwart.
The Union home ministry said that till Tuesday night, it had received no request from the state’s chief secretary for central paramilitary forces.
Security and other essential services agencies in neighbouring states are taking no chances either, especially in Karnataka, which has shared a turbulent past with Tamil Nadu over sharing Cauvery river water.
“As a precautionary measure, all KA (Karnataka) registered vehicles have been stopped at Attibele crossing," an official from Attibele police station said on Tuesday. Some people, from both sides of the border, have resorted to violence and arson in the past, targeting innocent motorists.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which operates around 432 buses to Tamil Nadu everyday including 87 to Chennai, have stopped all services. A spokesperson for the KSRTC said that buses and its crew that are already in Tamil Nadu, will remain there with police protection.
On several occasions when tensions rose, protestors have targeted people and property of the neighbouring state to vent their anger.
On 12 September 2016, at least 100 Tamil Nadu registered vehicles were burnt in Karnataka by violent mobs, after a series of verdicts seen as unfavourable to the state was passed by the Supreme Court. Two people died as a result of the day-long riots across Bengaluru and other parts of the state.