The Ram Rajya Rath Yatra, which is n Tamil Nadu despite strong opposition from political parties¸ was temporarily stopped by the police near the temple town of Rameswaram, reports have said. The cops had brought the yatra to a halt as it had deviated from the route they had designated for it.
The rath yatra resumed only after the organisers agreed to follow police instructions and stick to the route that they had been assigned, Tamil news channel Puthiya Talaimurai reported.
The stoppage reportedly occurred when the procession left the East Coast Road and took a different route. The police stopped the vehicle soon after and refused to allow it to proceed. They said they could security for the procession only if it stayed on the route they had laid out, leaving little choice for the organisers. The rath then made its way towards the port town of Thoothukudi, the report said.
The rath yatra has been a hot button topic in Tamil Nadu. Opposition parties, led by DMK leader MK Stalin, had raised strong objections to allowing the yatra to continue in the state. They alleged that the procession would lead to communal animosity and termed it an attempt at polarisation.
However, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy shot down demands to prevent the procession from entering the state. He said he could not stop the procession, but would ensure adequate security.
The Ram Rajya Rath yatra set out from Ayodhya in February, and is aimed at mobilising support for the building of a Ram Janmabhoomi temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. The Ayodhya issue has never had much traction in Tamil Nadu, electorally or support-wise.
The rath yatra passed through Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, before entering Tamil Nadu. Within the state, it passed through Punalur, Sengottai, Tenkasi, Kadayanallur, Vasudevanallur, Virudunagar and Madurai on its way to its conclusion in Rasmeswaram.