The AIADMK Government has played down the death of IT professional Subasree (23) in a road accident in Chennai last Thursday caused by an illegal AIADMK banner that fell on her.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami and Deputy O Pannerselvam have not even offered condolences to the family of Subasree. Nor have they come out with a strong statement against the cutout culture. This despite severe strictures passed by the Madras High Court, condemnation by the entire opposition and citizens voicing their outrage through social media with the hashtag Banthebanners.
The AIADMK former councilor Jayagopal, whose posters welcoming Pannerselvam to his son’s wedding caused the tragedy, is still at large. The police have arrested the driver of the truck that ran over Subasree when she fell off her scooter and came under its wheel after one such poster fell on her in Chennai on Thursday.
The police have registered an FIR against him only after the Chennai Corporation has lodged a complaint under Section 4 of The Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959, for putting up the hoarding without permission. The maximum punishment under this section is one year in jail.
The Bihari driver of the truck has been booked under Sec 304 A of the IPC for causing death by rash and negligent driving which entails a punishment up to two years.
The police have also sealed the press which printed the offending poster which caused Subasree’s death. But the owner is yet to be secured.
The accident has shocked the conscience of the entire political class.However, a junior Minister Kadambur Janardhanan has said its just an accident and the Government is not to blame .
Edappadi K Palanisami and O Panneerselvam, in a joint statement have said:” We were greatly perturbed when we came to know that the general public has been affected by certain activities of some people who did it out of their over-enthusiasm and lack of general knowledge over the restrictions”.
No mention of the AIADMK former councillor Jayagopal. No mention of the illegal poster which showed photos of both EPS and OPS along with late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha. More bizarre is the explanation that the party men were unaware of restrictions on putting up posters in public places.
This despite the division bench of the Madras High Court deploring the repeated violation of court orders banning such posters by the political class.
It said:” How many litres of blood should spill on the road. You officials want to please politicians in power. You don’t have any respect for court orders. Why don’t political leaders advise their cadre not to erect banners and flex boards on public roads. They don’t come up overnight. Will insensitive officials act only when a death occurs? Can you bring back the life of Subhasree".
These strictures have had no effect on the ruling AIADMK to which it is business as usual.
But the court directive to the Government to pay an interim solatium of Rs 5 lakh to the parent of Subasree and recover it from errant Chennai Corporation officials and police can hoperfully act as a deterrent on pliant officials.
Will the judges’s poignant question, “Can you bring Subasree back to life?”, haunt the conscience of Tamil Nadu ?
If they could vote Jayalalitha back to power after the Dharmapuri bus burning outrage in which three Coimbatore college girls were burnt alive, they will also equally quickly forget Subasree too.