Several parts of Tamil Nadu witnessed protests Saturday, a day after the Chennai Police lathicharged anti-CAA protesters in Washermanpet, leaving several injured. Shops in the locality remained closed today, as more than 1,000 women gathered to stage a sit-in protest in the area.
The protesters at Washermanpet dispersed later after Deputy Commissioner Dhinakaran promised them that the department will take necessary action against police personnel involved in the lathicharge on Friday.
The protestors at #Washermanpet have dispersed. They say Additional Commissioner (North) R Dhinakaran has promised that the department will take necessary action against police personnel involved in the lathicharge on Friday. #CAAProtest @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/s0s97S8zJS
— Janardhan Koushik (@koushiktweets) February 15, 2020
The protesters from various outfits said they were holding a peaceful agitation last evening when the police intervened and resorted to lathicharge. “Many were injured, some were brutally beaten up,” said an eyewitness. According to the news agency PTI, four police personnel including a woman joint commissioner P Vijayakumari, two women constables and a sub-inspector were injured.
The violence has led to sporadic protests in at least a dozen major towns in the state. Traders in Coonoor have shut shop to protest the alleged police atrocities against anti-CAA protesters in Chennai. There were reports of protests in Tiruchendur also.
Over 1,000 people carried out a protest outside a post office in Kumbakonam district, while another protest took place at Melapalyam in Nellai. The protesters have staged road roko on the Chidambaram-Trichy Highway in Tamil Nadu to condemn the violence while over 500 people are demonstrating in Ramanathapuram district.
Chennai Police Commissioner A K Vishwanathan met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at his residence Saturday to explain the lathicharge on the protesters at Chennai’s Washermanpet yesterday. The two of them had a meeting for half an hour, where the Commissioner explained the various anti-CAA protests which were taking place across the city.
During the protests by thousands of women at Washermanpet earlier today, Vishwanathan had stated that Tamil Nadu is a peaceful state that follows law and order. “Everyone needs to preserve that culture of the State,” he said.
Opposition parties led by the DMK in Tamil Nadu on Saturday lashed out at the police action against anti-CAA protesters and sought action against those police personnel who allegedly used force against the agitators.
DMK President M K Stalin said the protests were being held in a peaceful manner and sought to know why the police used force to disperse them.
Stalin demanded that any cases in this connection should also be withdrawn and sought action against policemen who allegedly resorted to lathicharge. Hitting out at the AIADMK, the DMK chief said while the ruling party had voted in favour of the amended Citizenship Act in the Parliament, it was also not enacting an Assembly resolution against CAA, a demand put forth by his party.
DMK MP Kanimozhi posted on Facebook that a “sensitive and sensible handling of yesterday’s agitation in north Chennai would have saved bloodshed and violence against the protesters.”
Her post read, “The JC North Kapilkumar Saratkar IPS mishandled the situation which led to violence. Mr.Kapilkumar was the DIG when Thoothukudi firing took place. He is under probe by both CBI & a Commission of Inquiry. He should have been posted in a non-sensitive post till the probe in Thoothukudi firing is completed. Instead he is rewarded with JC (L&O) post. Kapilkumar Saratkar who is squarely responsible for yesterday’s violence in Washermenpet on innocent people should be suspended immediately and a probe ordered into the violence.”
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dhinakaran also targeted the government over the handling of the protest. “Using force in peaceful protests amounts to stirring up a hornet’s nest,” the independent legislator said in a statement. He wished such incidents did not repeat.
The Vaiko-led MDMK adopted a resolution in its district secretaries meeting, slamming the police for allegedly using force against protestors, reported PTI.
BJP leader H Raja, whose party is an ally of the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, slammed the violence against police personnel in the protests. In a tweet, he said “rioters should be dealt with an iron fist.”
(With inputs from PTI)