Amidst mounting tension, MDMK general secretary Vaiko’s protest against liquor intensified further on Sunday as a TASMAC shop in his hometown was ransacked by a group of people.
To quell the protesters, police fired 10 rounds of teargas and detained a few protesters for ransacking the liquor shop and staging a road roko .
“My protest will continue until this shop germinating all sorts of evils is uprooted,” Mr. Vaiko vowed.
A group of people, led by Mr. Vaiko’s brother, president of Kalingapatti panchayat V. Ravichandran and their 94-year-old mother Mariammal Vaiyapuri, tried to lock the liquor shop on the main bazaar on Saturday. The protesters blocked roads when police tried to arrest a few among them.
Speaking to The Hindu before leaving for the protest venue on Sunday, Mr. Vaiko said the Jayalalithaa-led government’s “adamant attitude” to allow the TASMAC retail outlet to function in Kalingapatti despite stiff resistance from the public has compelled him to lead a protest in his native place.
“The liquor shop has been opened even after the panchayat, through a resolution, decided against it. It is functioning even after we decided to lay siege to shop. The women of Kalingapatti, who are capable of dismantling this shop within a few minutes, are extremely patient as they did not want to trigger any violence,” he said.
“A huge posse of police has been deployed at Kalingapatti, particularly near the liquor shop to ensure its unhindered functioning. Four outsiders have been brought here to show that there were some sales but the liquor bottles purchased by these outsiders have been snatched by our people and broken. If we resist the sale during the protest, something untoward may happen and hence, I requested my mother to be at home as she was in the protest till 10 p.m. last night,” Mr. Vaiko said.
When the agitation started around 3.30 p.m., Mr. Vaiko addressed the protesters from his election campaign vehicle. Even as he was speaking, B. Ramalingam (29) of Ganapathipatti climbed up a mobile phone tower demanding total prohibition in Tamil Nadu.
Within the next few minutes, a section of the protesters, laid siege to the liquor shop and ransacked it within few minutes. As lathi charge proved to be futile, police fired 10 rounds of teargas to disperse the demonstrators.
Returning to the protest venue immediately, Mr. Vaiko continued the road roko . Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi founder Thol. Thirumavalavan, who had come to Tirunelveli to open a party office, met the MDMK general secretary at the protest venue to express his solidarity.
“I’ll be compelled to ask the VCK cadres to rush to Kalingapatti if the police deployed at Kalingapatti are not withdrawn,” Mr. Thirumavalavan warned while addressing the protestors.
Mr. Vaiko also cautioned that the he would also mobilise party cadres from other districts if the police force was not withdrawn.
As Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli Range, S. Murugan, who reached the spot at 6.10 p.m., agreed to withdraw the police force after a brief discussion with Mr. Vaiko, who asked the cadres to disperse.