Over 40 cadres of Communist Party of India (Marxist), including former Dindigul MLA K. Bala Bharathi, were detained by Theni district police on Wednesday when they tried to stage a “wait-in” protest seeking shifting of a TASMAC-run IMFL retail outlet functioning in Chinnamanur bazaar area.
The cadres objected to the district administration’s refusal to shift the liquor shop despite the TASMAC District Manager having given a written assurance to shift it within three months. “Since the promise was not kept by the officials to shift the shop, which was located closer to a place of worship, we planned to hold the wait-in protest,” said a party functionary, T. Venkatesan.
The police, which had barricaded the shop, prevented the cadres from going closer to the shop and arrested them. “The police behaved in a very harsh manner with us,” complained Ms. Bala Bharathi.
The officials showed a 2019-court order which legitimised the running of liquor shop. “This only showed that there has been opposition to the location of the TASMAC shop for a very long time. If the court order was given during the AIADMK regime, why are the officials still following it even as Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has promised that any shop which causes inconvenience to the people will be removed,” she asked.
The cadres refused to accept the lunch served by the police at the mandapam where they were lodged, in protest against their rude handling. When the police ordered their release, the cadres refused to get out of the mandapam.
“The police said that our wait-in protest would cause law and order problem if staged near the liquor shop. We said that we would continue the protest in the mandapam without any trouble to general public,” Ms. Bala Bharathi said.
Revenue officials held talks with the protesters again in the evening. “We have been asked to meet the Collector on Thursday to settle the issue. If the district administration refused to execute its promise of shifting the TASMAC shop, we will continue our protest on the Collectorate premises,” she added.