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Pro-reservation protest: PMK supporters create ruckus in Chennai after being stopped by police

PMK supporters stop train, block roads after being denied entry to Chennai to join pro-reservation protest.

Written by Janardhan Koushik |
Updated: December 1, 2020 10:32:58 pm
Pro-reservation protest: PMK supporters create ruckus in Chennai after being stopped by policePattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) youth wing leader and MP Anbumani Ramadoss

Hundreds of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) cadres created a ruckus after police allegedly denied them entry to Chennai city for taking part in a demonstration led by the party’s youth wing leader and MP Anbumani Ramadoss.

The demonstration was in support of a demand for 20 per cent reservation in government jobs and education for the Vanniyar community of Tamil Nadu.

Angry PMK activists pelted an express train with stones on Tuesday morning, prompting the loco pilot to stop for 10 minutes near Perungalathur. According to local reports, the train’s window panel was damaged but the passengers escaped injury. Other train services on the route were also disrupted for some time as the cadres staged a rail roko, placing electrical boxes on the railway tracks.

More than 500 PMK cadres, who came in private vehicles, were stopped near Vandalur and denied entry to the city. The activists then blocked roads, disrupting traffic and causing much inconvenience to the commuting public. What followed was severe congestion on GST road, connecting the city. PMK cadres, who didn’t adhere to the guidelines, were detained and kept in a community hall.

The police had refused to grant permission for the PMK protest. On Monday, Chennai Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Agarwal enforced Section 41 of the Chennai City Police Act prohibiting all processions, demonstrations, fasts, human chain, meetings and assemblies for 15 days, starting November 30.

However, Ambumani Ramadoss went ahead with the protest near Pallavan house in Chennai, after which he met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at the secretariat.

Speaking to reporters, Ramadoss said provision of 20 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community was part of the 10-point charter of demands they had put forward to the AIADMK, before tying up for the last Lok Sabha elections.

“On the request of the chief minister, a group of protesters, including myself, met him and Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam. We have been demanding 20 per cent reservation for Vanniyars in government jobs and education. This is not a caste protest and neither is it targeted towards any community. This is about social justice. The Vanniyars are considered backward in matters of education and employment. There has been no development in areas they reside in. They are forced to migrate to other states for livelihood,” Ramadoss said.

“There cannot be total development in Tamil Nadu unless the government commits to the welfare of the Vanniyar community. We informed the chief minister about all the issues concerning the community. He assured a decision that will favour them. We’ve been continuously pressuring the government to provide reservation to the Vanniyars. A few months ago, we decided to stage a peaceful protest after holding consultations with senior party leaders. We organised the protest in Chennai today,” he said.

Ramadoss denied the ruckus created by his party cadres, claiming they weren’t involved in any violence and protested peacefully.

“We (PMK) are against violence. Our cadres were denied entry to the city to take part in the protest. Just because some people were involved in violence doesn’t mean our party or the (Vanniyar) community had anything to do with it. We have been fighting for this cause for the last 40 years but haven’t got justice,” Ramadoss said.

The CM said his government will set up a committee to collect the caste-wise data in the state.

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