Pasupati Pandian (50), founder of Devendra Kula Velalar Kootamaippu (Federation) was murdered yesterday in Dindigul district, by unidentified people in front of his home today.
The police suspect that the gang (how do they know?) monitored his movements (how do they know, if the people are not identified?) before attacking him. Special Teams have been formed to nab the gang.
Pasupati's wife "Jesintha" had been killed in a bomb attack about two years ago inTuticorin district.
The situation is tense in Dindigul, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli as some bus services have been hit. Police are saying services have been restored in "many areas" including Madurai, Theni and Tuticorin. I suppose it is too much to ask for reporting on status in Dindigul and Tirunelveli that were originally reported as tense.
So this tells me pretty much nothing about the dynamics around the murder that got entire districts tense.
Digging through archives, I found out:
A report from Madurai on 3rd March 2002 makes a reference to Pasupathi Pandian and John Pandian (who also contested elections this year) as having left the PMK and refers to them as senior leaders. this is 2002. In the same story, which is about Vandavasi MLA, Murugavel Rajan leaving PMK, Vandavasi MLA, Murugavel Rajan makes some allegations about the founder leader S. Ramadoss being victim to a powerful lobby running a parallel administration within the party and asks for security (possibly unrelated, but maybe related, since seeing the rest of the info).
Now, this Ramadoss had been arrested in 1944 when he protested the arrest of Pandian under the Goondas Act. At that time also there had been buses burnt. The same article goes on to mention a "nexus" between PMK and LTTE, which is categorically denied.
Interestingly, Pandian himself had been arrested along with eight others in 2003, following a police raid in which country made bombs and lethal weapons were allegedly seized from his home in Dindigul (presumably the same where he was killed yesterday). To quote:
Cases were filed under Sections 25 (1) (a) of the Arms and Ammunitions Act 1959, and Section 5 of the Explosives Substances Act 1908.
The arrested were produced before Judicial Magistrate court-II, which remanded them to judicial custody for 15 days.
Talking to mediapersons here, the town Deputy Superintendent of Police, P.K. Kaliamurthy, said that following information from the Tuticorin police that a life-convict, Damodharan, (36), was sheltered in the residence of his brother, Pasupathi Pandiyan here, a special team held an hour-long search operation.
The police could not find Damodaran but arrested the nine persons for murder, destruction of public property and robbery.
The arrested, besides Pasupathi Pandiyan (38), are Velmurugan (22) of Vilathikulam, Thangaraj (23) Marimuthu (19) and Kalidas (22), all belonging to Kovilpatti; Raja (30) of Madakulam in Madurai district, Sakthivel (24) of Udumalpet, Sundar (22) of Athoor in Tuticorin district and Paneerselvam (27) of Yeppothumvendran in Tuticorin district.
As they surrounded Pasupathi Pandiyan's house at Nandhavanapatti, on the outskirts of the town, at around 1.45 a.m., the police found that the accused were engaged in making country-made bombs. When they attempted to escape, the police arrested them, said Mr. Kaliamurthy.
A sword, a sickle and seven knives, nine country-made bombs, one pipe bomb, five boxes of high carbon steel balls and phosphorous and sulphur used for making bombs, were seized.
There were three cases including murder against Pasupathi Pandian, murder cases against Thangaraj and Kalidas and cases of murder and destruction of public property, including bus-burning, against Velmurugan.
Pasupathi's wife "Jessintha" has been killed in a bomb attack supposedly intended for Pasupathi soon after founding the Marutham Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (Mallar Nadu is its political arm) in 2008.
They were supposedly driving to court in Tuticorin to attend trial in a murder case in which he was accused. He accompanied by friends in two Sumos when a truck blocked their way at Eppothumvendran bridge and 20 or so attackers got out and attacked them with crude bomb, some of which didn't explode. Pasupathi got into one of the Sumos and escaped. "Jessinta", abandoned and stranded, was stabbed and shot dead. Two others, Mr. Hussain and Mr. Muniyasamy lay on the ground injured, but were not killed. Four other friends of Pandian jumped into the river and escaped.
Two people arrested with sickles were involved in more than eight murders - one of which was "Jacinta" (BTW, I think this is likely the correct spelling).
The attackers abandoned the truck and escaped in waiting cars near the bridge itself.
"The situation is well under control and we have established pickets and patrols in the area, " Superintendent of PoliceMahesh Kumar Aggarwal, told The Hindu.
A report on the candidates list of Mallar Nadu, the political arm of Mallar Ilakkiya Kazhagam fighting for representation of the Devendra Kula Vellalars from 25th March 2011 mentions John Pandian and Pasupathi Pandian would be contesting elections and the party would not be contesting against them, but providing moral support.
And so on... a curious archive search about this leader about which hardly anything was mentioned reads like a Tarantino film. I don't know what to make of this, but it sure is far more than a random Dalit leader killed by random armed men.