Eight held for burning effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa

The arrest of a few Government Law College students for burning effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here sparked off a protest by students of the college in the city on Wednesday. The students resorted to road blockade, throwing traffic out of gear during the peak hour in the evening.

Earlier in the day, eight law college students were taken into custody after they burnt the effigies near TVS Tollgate in the afternoon.

The arrest triggered a protest a few hours later with a section of law college students resorting to picketing near TVS Tollgate condemning Mr.Rajapaksa and demanding immediate release of the arrested students.

A senior police officer informed them that those arrested would be released in the evening, but the agitating students demanded their immediate release. On the direction of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) Selvakumar, a police vehicle was sent to bring back the arrested students who were kept in a marriage hall in K.K. Nagar.

Even as the arrested students were brought to the TVS Tollgate area, a few students reportedly intercepted a private car on the Pudukottai Road and banged the bonnet of the vehicle. Inspector of Anti Land Grabbing Cell of the city police Chellamuthu was travelling in the car along with his family.

The students then reportedly vented their ire on the car of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Fort Range, passing that way.

Upon noticing this, the inspector is alleged to have pulled up the students and reportedly assaulted one of them, which heightened the tension.

The agitating students also pulled down traffic barricades nearby and placed them at various points around the tollgate junction obstructing traffic for nearly 90 minutes.

Vehicles heading towards TVS Tollgate on the Pudukottai road were diverted at Head Post Office causing traffic hold-ups near railway junction and on the Tiruchi-Chennai Bypass Road, much to the inconvenience of commuters in the peak hour.

The agitating students later gave up their protest and submitted a petition to the Deputy Commissioner of Police seeking action against the inspector, Chellamuthu, alleging that he had abused them and assaulted one of their colleagues.

Meanwhile, students of Nehru Memorial College at Puthanampatti near here and Urumu Dhanalakshmi College in the city observed fast on the college campus on the Eelam issue. A section of students of EVR College staged a dharna on their campus condemning Mr.Rajapaksa.