Five remanded for staging protest against high tension power lines

September 14, 2019 11:42 pm | Updated 11:42 pm IST - Tiruppur

Police arguing with a group of farmers protesting against high tension power lines at Sadayampalayam on Friday.

Police arguing with a group of farmers protesting against high tension power lines at Sadayampalayam on Friday.

Four farmers and a lawyer from Kundadam in Dharapuram were remanded in judicial custody in the late hours of Friday after protesting against the laying of high tension power lines over agricultural lands.

The farmers – Shanmugasundaram, Muthu Viswanathan, Parthasarathy and Thangamuthu – and the lawyer, Easan, are the office-bearers of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Protection Association, police said.

They organised the farmers’ protests at Chinnaripalayam and Sadarayampalayam villages in Dharapuram taluk on Friday. The protesters resisted survey of land by officials from the Power Grid Corporation of India and the Revenue Department, and argued with the police.

A total of 67 protesters, including 20 women, were arrested from both of the protest sites and were later released. However, police arrested the four office-bearers of the farmers' outfit and remanded them in judicial custody in the Coimbatore Central Prison.

“They were attempting to instigate the public,” a senior police officer said. The five were booked under Sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty), 447 (Punishment for criminal trespass) and 147 (Punishment for rioting) of the Indian Penal Code, the officer said.

R. Kumar, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, alleged that the officials visited the farm lands for land survey without any prior notice to the farmers. “There is no transparency in this process,” he alleged.

Denying these claims, a revenue official told The Hindu that there were no mandates to issue notices to farmers before land surveys and that the district administration officials had been holding talks with the farmers on the issue.

“We are doing what the government asked us to do. They should not stop us from doing our duty,” the official said.

R. Ve. Rajkumar, State secretary of the agricultural wing of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, has condemned the arrests. In a statement issued on Saturday, he demanded the withdrawal of the case.

Meanwhile, protests continued in Chinnaripalayam and Sadarayampalayam villages on Saturday and about 25 protesters were detained, police said.

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