Alleging harassment and intimidation by a group of anti-social elements, residents of the city, a majority of them women, took out a protest march to the Police Commissioner's office on Tuesday.

Hailing mostly from Sevvapet, Gugai, Fort and adjoining areas, the hub of city's business and trade activities, they defied a police directive to cancel the march. They raised slogans against the rowdies.

The residents expressed anguish at the inaction of law enforcers at Sevvapet police station.

The force, they alleged, remained “indifferent” to their plight despite a spate of complaints.

“The goons have been indulging in anti-social activities in our areas where the silver anklet industry and other units are concentrated. Extortion, abduction, ‘mamool' collection, eve-teasing and public nuisance have become the order of the day in our residential colonies,” said a woman resident of Sevvapet.

The protestors alleged that women, fearing harassment, had stopped venturing out of their houses after dusk.

“Can this happen in the heart of the city?” asked a resident.

The Salem Sevvapet Silver Handicraft Association, Salem Maratha Silver Refinery Welfare Association, Sourashtra Samooga Munnetra Kazhagam and Sri Pandu Ranganatha Swamy Devasthanom also submitted a petition to the Police Commissioner seeking immediate action.

Senior police officers held talks with the protestors and promised to do the needful.

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