Hundreds of Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadre were arrested when they tried to stage protests in front of Central Government offices here on Friday, condemning the “wrong economic policies” of the Centre.

All the arrested were released later. The party had organised protests at 16 places in the district.

CPI(M) Central Committee member P.Sampath, who led the protest on Scott Road, said the wrong economic policies of the Centre had brought untold sufferings to the common man. The rise in prices of essential commodities had hit them hard. “Around three lakh farmers have committed suicide in the recent past, but the Centre is not bothered about it,” Mr.Sampath noted.

The Centre’s Direct Cash Transfer Scheme policy would jeopardise the free rice distribution scheme and the sale of rice for Rs.20 in Tamil Nadu. Education and health sectors had been highly commercialised, he added.

“Charges of large-scale corruption, running into several crores of rupees, were being made against the Union Ministers. Even the Prime Minister is not spared,” he said, adding the Left parties had been pressing for alternative economic policies to safeguard the common man.

The protestors also demanded an amendment to the Land Ceiling Act for distribution of land to landless agricultural workers, issue of house site pattas to those seeking them, and the guarantee of food security to all.

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