Students claim they were lathi-charged by police; fasts, human chains continue

An anti-Sri Lanka protest by students of Pachaiyappa’s College turned violent on Thursday, when police officers allegedly resorted to lathi charge.

Around 10 students sustained minor injuries.

According to the students, at 11 a.m., nearly 150 of them led a road roko near the college, blocking traffic for about 30 minutes. “Then a policeman grabbed the collar of one of the student leaders, Elumalai, and told us to disperse. He also threatened and abused us,” a student said.

The students said they had resisted arrest and that had led to the dispute intensifying. “We were beaten first with lathis and forced to disperse. Nearly 30 of us went to the hospital for first aid. Four of us were bleeding profusely,” said Raja, another protester. Elumalai was taken to the Poonamallee police station, but released in the evening.

The police however said they had only chased away the students to prevent them from hindering traffic and creating law and order problems. They added that the students had been given ample time to disperse, but did not do so. The protesting students said they were from Ezha Tamizharin Thannurimaikkana Manavar Munnani, a newly-formed organisation.

In Nungambakkam, 35 students of different colleges were arrested for staging a demonstration in front of an eatery.

According to police, the students were returning after a demonstration at Valluvarkottam. They shouted slogans and demanded the eatery be shut down as it was part of US-based chain. The eatery downed its shutters for a short while to avoid damage but reopened later.

Meanwhile, IT employees in Siruseri and Navallur formed a human chain to register their protest.

In Vyasarpadi, over 1,000 Tamil refugees from Myanmar observed a day-long fast. The protesters raised slogans against the Indian and Sri Lankan governments. “As we ourselves were once refugees from Myanmar, we can understand the suffering of our Tamil brethren in Sri Lanka,” said M.K. Munisiva, a Tamil Burmese refugee, who led the protest.

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