Police demanded production of Aadhaar card: CPI (M)

CPI (M) cadre picketing Periyar bus stand in Madurai on Tuesday against bus fare hike .   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

Did Madurai City police demand Aadhaar cards of the arrested Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadre for their release? This is what the CPI (M) cadre complained on Tuesday evening.

Around 175 cadre, including 16 women, were arrested when they staged a road roko at Periyar bus stand protesting against the steep bus fare hike. They were lodged in a marriage hall near Krishnarayar Teppam. Usually, the police release such protesters in the evening on personal bail. “However, today Inspector of Police (Thideer Nagar) N. Duraipandian insisted that we should produce our Aadhaar cards for address verification and release. This is a new procedure,” said M. Ganesan, a former Corporation councillor.

A. Ramesh, party district council member, said the police deliberately insisted on the Aadhaar card to stifle the voice of the protesters.

“How do the police expect us to carry Aadhaar card when we go out for a road roko? Besides, many of us even do not have the card,” Mr. Ganesan said.

However, Mr. Duraipandian said the police had asked only for some identity cards for verification of the addresses given by the arrested cadre.

“We never insisted on Aadhaar. The cadre are trying to blow things out of proportion,” he said.

A police officer said that 40 cadre were able to produce some proof of identity like voter identity card, driving licence and ration card.

“The proof of address is only to verify whether the arrested persons have given the right address and phone number. Often, we face problem in serving summons when the case comes up for hearing in court as the address and phone numbers do not exist,” he said.

The police arrested them under the sections of Indian Penal Code for unlawful assembly, disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a government servant and wrongful restraint.

The protesters were, however, released around 7.30 p.m. without the police insisting on production of identity cards.

Speaking on the protests, R. Vijayarajan, secretary, Madurai urban unit of the party, said that the bus fare hike had severely burdened the economically backward people.

“Construction workers going to Tirumangalam or Vadipatti from the city have to pay nearly double the amount of what they used to pay earlier. This will take a toll on their daily earnings,” he said.

Alleging that the public would not suffer much if the hike was marginal, he said the government had instead increased it at least by 50% of the existing price. “Hence, this has to be repealed,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 12:29:40 PM |

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