A total of 98 persons owing allegiance to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) were arrested for participating in a picketing demonstration near the Independence Square here on Friday. Among those arrested were 35 women.

The demonstration, led by the CPI (M) State Executive Committee member N. Srinivasan, was part of the ‘Fill the Jails’ plan of action to draw the attention of the Central and State governments to the demands of the people.

The demands included grant of free house site pattas to all those who do not have pattas, regularisation of the lands in the possession of farmers and jobs for all.

They also wanted the dominance of private players in the health and education sectors to be put an end to.

Such basic rights should be taken care of by the government itself.

The Food Security Bill should be amended and people belonging to all sections of the society should be made the beneficiaries.

Effective steps should be taken to check corruption which has spread to all sectors. Corruption should be weeded out of politics.

Appropriate compensation should be given to all the drought-affected farmers.

Among those who participated was the District Secretary, CPI (M) R. Badri and district executive committee member L. Thiagarajan.

Police sources said that 52 persons were arrested in Gudalur and 75 persons including 18 women were held in Erumadu for participating in picketing demonstrations for the same demands.