The Social Justice Protection Movement,an apolitical umbrella organisation consisting of service outfits, farmers, fishermen, educationists, traders and lawyers in Villupuram, has resolved to adopt Gandhian methods to deal with anti-social elements and seek legal remedy for harassed law-abiding citizens.

Speakers at a consultative committee meeting of the Movement held at Theivanai Ammal College for Women here recently vouched for this. Founder-president of the Movement E. Swamikannu spoke on problems posed by mischievous elements to private educational institutions, hospitals and other service providers in the district.

Such attempts were made to stall their good works and act as stumbling block to their growth, he said.

Misguided elements were giving trouble to good people and attempting to tarnish their image through scurrilous campaigns.

Citing an instance he said gangsters put pressure on an educational institution to cough up Rs. 5 lakh for a mishap that occurred to a student during excursion, even preventing mediatory talks with the victim's mother.

In another incident, the civic body imposed heavy fine on a trust-run hospital and threatened its closure if it did not clear the due immediately.

In yet another instance, technical institutions were directed to comply with the guidelines within three months and when such an arbitrary action was contested in court, the officialdom relented and relaxed the rules.

Mr. Swamikannu said it was a cause for concern that when quality of education ought to be improved to meet global standards, such a retrograde step, resulting from official apathy, would affect students. He called upon the parents too join the managements in this endeavour.

The society was facing myriad problems and challenges and the Movement would lend a helping hand, wherever possible, to the harassed sections.

Mr. Swamikannu said that to facilitate this, the Movement would constitute various committees of lawyers, students and farmers to take up their cause in the appropriate forums.

Former MLA Valavanur Mani, who is also the vice-president of the district film exhibitors' association, said that the long-felt need of the district had materialised now. Villupuram Chamber of Commerce president P. Ramanathan, Arumugha Nainar of the Medical Council of India, Rice Mill Owners' Association president R.K. Kuberan, Pharmacists' Association president K.R. Chinnaiya Chettiar, Fishermen Association president N.M. Subburaman, Bar Association president K. Marimuthu, Tamil Sangam president C.M.Baladandayutham, and Kamban Kazhagam secretary M.K. Sankaran participated.