Shops and establishments across Annur taluk remained shut from dawn to dusk on Thursday, as the Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam called for a protest seeking the withdrawal of cases against K. Gopalsamy, a farmer who was caught in a recent controversy at Ottarpalayam village office near here.
The association wanted the police to withdraw two cases registered against Mr. Gopalsamy based on the complaints lodged by former Ottarpalayal Village Administrative Officer (VAO) V. Kalaiselvi and Village Assistant (VA) P. Muthusamy.
All shops except medical shops remained shut across Annur taluk. Coimbatore District Police deployed police personnel at Annur town as a precaution.
Mr. Gopalsamy was booked under provisions of the Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the IPC on August 8, after a video of the VA, a Dalit, falling at his feet and apologizing at the village office went viral. He was also booked on charges of preventing the VA and VAO from discharging their duty.
A week later, a second video which surfaced, showed Mr. Muthusamy assaulting Mr. Gopalsamy at the village office. People supporting Mr. Gopalsamy had claimed that the VA fell at the feet of Mr. Gopalsamy and apologized for having assaulted him. According to them, the VA later alleged that Mr. Gopalsamy forced him to fall at his feet and made casteist remarks against him, fearing legal action for the assault.
On Tuesday, the Annur police booked Mr. Muthusamy for the assault on Mr. Gopalsamy.
Representatives of the farmers association alleged that Coimbatore District Police failed to conduct a proper investigation into the incidents that took place at the Ottarpalayam village office on August 6 and they misused provisions of the SC/ST Act by booking Mr. Gopalsamy.
The association wanted authorities to withdraw the cases against Mr. Gopalsamy, arrest the VA and the VAO, and dismiss them from service. The two officials were placed under suspension by Coimbatore District Collector on Tuesday.