Members belonging to various trade unions on Wednesday staged a demonstration in front of the head post office condemning the “anti-people” and “anti-labour” policies of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
The protesters, led by AITUC general secretary Dinesh Ponnaya, said the Centre had been trying to help the capitalists and industrialists at the cost of farmers. The Centre had been frequently increasing the prices of petrol and diesel causing hardship to common people.
The average employment generation had declined and over 6 lakh permanent employees had lost their jobs in the last four years of the BJP rule, Mr. Ponnaya said. Representatives from the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) participated in the protest.
Nearly 80 persons owing allegiance to many Tamil outfits were arrested after they staged protest at various places here on Wednesday condemning the police firing on the anti-Sterlite protesters in Thoothukudi.
The police said that members belonging to the Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam staged a demonstration near the Raja Theatre signal. The protesters suddenly pulled out an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and set them on fire. The police intervened and arrested 50 persons, including five women.
Cadres of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) staged a protest demanding permanent closure of the Sterlite plant at Thoothukudi. The protesters, led by R. Rajangam, secretary of CPI(M), took out a rally from Subbiah Statue at Nellithope and picketed the Tamil Nadu State Express Transport Corporation bus stand on Maraimalai Adigal Salai.
Thirty persons belonging to Makkal Adhigaram were arrested when they resorted to a rail roko at the Puducherry railway station demanding permanent closure of the Sterlite plant. A group of protesters, led by Tamilan Meeran, stormed into the railway station and blocked the Puducherry-Tirupati Express train. They squatted on the railway track and raised slogans against the Tamil Nadu government and condemned the police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters.
The Federation for People’s Rights (FPR) has urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to depute a high-level team to Thoothukudi to probe the police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters that claimed 11 persons. In a release, G. Sugumaran, secretary of FPR, said the local people had been staging peaceful protests for the last 100 days.
Mr. Sugumaran said the police had used excessive force and opened fire on the protesters without pacifying them through talks. He alleged that the police action had been planned in advance as eight of the 11 victims who were killed in the gun fire were leading the protests in a peaceful way.