Chennai: A 23-year-old woman techie riding a two-wheeler was run over by a water tanker as she lost balance and fell down after an illegal hoarding put up by a ruling AIADMK functionary crashed down on her on an arterial suburban road here, police said.
As the incident drew all round flak, the AIADMK and main opposition DMK asked their party cadres not to erect hoardings, inconveniencing the general public.
Other parties, including the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam also aired the same view and asked their cadres to desist from the practice.
The Madras High Court, hearing a plea on the matter on Friday, took a tough stand against illegal hoardings and wondered "how many more litres of blood the state government needs to paint the roads with."
R Subashri was riding home on an arterial road after completing her shift at a software firm on Thursday when the hoarding put up on the median crashed down on her and she fell from her two wheeler.
A water tanker coming behind her vehicle ran over her and she was pronounced brought dead at a local hospital.
The tanker driver was arrested for rash and negligent driving and a case has been registered against him.
The woman's death led to an outrage over illegal hoardings being put by political parties, despite them causing inconvenience and posing a threat to people's safety.
Social media was flooded with comments against the illegal hoardings and people expressed anguish over her death.
Following its complaint, police filed an FIR against the AIADMK functionary and action would be taken as per law, the Chennai Corporation said, adding the printing unit which brought out the hoarding has been sealed.
The hoarding was put up without obtaining permission from Corporation authorities by the local AIADMK functionary for his son's wedding at a hall near Pallikaranai here.
According to the 'Tamil Nadu Urban Local Bodies(Permission for Erection of Digital Banners and Placards) Rules 2011,' the printer's licence will be cancelled and unit sealed if permission is not taken to erect hoardings or banners.
As per the rules,publicity hoardings must have a footnote with details like permission number, date, the number of hoardings permitted, time frame during which the hoardings can be displayed and the name of the press where it was printed.
An inconsolable Ravi, the woman's father, said his daughter had waved to the tanker driver soon after she fell down from her two wheeler, apparently signalling him to stop.
"The tanker driver was overspeeding and he could not slow down and stop. No one should meet a fate similar to that of my daughter who was my only child," he told reporters.
Subashri completed her B Tech last year and had a proposal to go to Canada next month and was working for a technology firm, he told reporters.
"Unfortunately, the banner fell on her blocking her vision and the lorry ran over her. No one should be made to bear this kind of a loss," he said.
He wanted the authorities to ensure that incidents of erection of banners on road median or sideways and overspeeding does not happen.
Following the incident, AIADMK top leaders O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami asked party workers to stop erecting banners inconveniencing people, for party events or family functions.
The leaders said they were anguished to learn of the public getting affected due to some overenthusiastic cadres putting up bannes without realising the consequences.
Some were also ignorant of the norms governing installation of such hoardings, they said.
In a joint statement issued to the AIADMK cadres, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Pannneerselvam said: “We are greatly distressed when we hear the news of people being affected by some actions of a few who are too eager or unaware of consequences or unaware of the rules in place. The placing of cut outs, flex boards for any reason, under any circumstances, should be altogether avoided.”
DMK chief M K Stalin warned his partymen that the party would take action against them if hoardings or banners were put up, inconveniencing the public.
He also made it clear that he would not take part in party events if banners or hoardings were erected that may be hazardous to the people.
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary T T V Dhinakaran said police should take action to prevent overspeeding by heavy vehicles like tankers and urged his party workers not to put up hoardings.
CPI state secretary R Mutharasan demanded tough legal action against those responsible for Subasri's death and flayed non-implementation of norms on putting up banners.
PMK founder leader S Ramadoss said events sans hoardings evidenced political maturity and only his party had a right to say so as the Pattali Makkal Katchi had fined cadres who had put up banners in the past. The leaders condoled Subasri's death.
In 2017, a 32-year old engineer Raghunath died after he crashed into an illegal hoarding in Coimbatore, put up for the MGR Centenary celebrations.