TIRUVANNAMALAI: Tiruvannamalai police detained Yogendra Yadav, psephologist-turned-politician and president of Swaraj India party, who had come to the district to interact with farmers protesting against acquisition of lands for the proposed Salem- Chennai green corridor project, twice on Saturday – in the morning and the evening.
On the invitation of a movement against the green corridor project, Yogendra Yadav, along with Dalip Singh, veteran trade union leader and a functionary of Swaraj India, Lingaraj, farmer leader from Odisha, K Balakrishnan, state convener of Swaraj India, and Arul Arumugam, joint convener of the movement, came to Athipaadi village on Saturday.
According to Yadav, the team met some 35 farmers at Arumugham’s house in Athipaadi at around 8.30 am.
“After a while, we left for a meeting with farmers. While the four of us were en route to visit the houses of aggrieved farmers, police stopped us and prevented us from proceeding. When Arul was capturing a video of this, he was dragged by the police, and all of us were manhandled by the men in uniform. Then, they took us to a marriage hall and detained there,” he said.
Refuting the charge of police that he was a threat to law and order, Yadav reiterated that he had come to the district to meet farmers and, no matter what, he would follow his conscience and visit them.
Yadav was released in the evening, but was detained again at a new location on Kanchi village along with Arumugham and Chandrakumar, convener of the movement.
“We were released at 5.00 pm. While we were going to meet farmers, we were again interrupted by police, who detained us at a marriage hall,” said Arumugam
Yadav said that prior to his detention, he had talked to the Collector on the phone about police excesses against protesters, but the Collector had denied any such incidents.
Reportedly, a letter hand delivered to Yadav by the police while he was under detention in the morning, claimed that he was being detained as per an order under Section 30 (2) of the Police Act 1861. Yadav said that application of the order was patently illegal as the Section was applicable to regulation of public assembly and processions. It did not apply to visiting houses of people.
While the SP was not available for comments, Collector K S Kandasamy said, “The district administration has given permission to Yogendra Yadav to meet farmers representatives at Kanchi village under the supervision of police.”