A 35-year-old contract worker of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) was on Monday killed after being shot at close range by a constable of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), triggering clashes. Following the incident, several trade unions announced
a 24-hour strike which began at 10 pm.
Rajkumar, a native of Aziz Nagar near Neyveli, was working in Mine-I Expansion of the NLC. In the morning, he went to meet his friend who was working at Mine-II. A CISF constable stopped Rajkumar and denied him entry into Mine-II, triggering an argument between the two. Soon, the constable lost his cool and shot Rajkumar on the head, reportedly, thrice. As news spread, Rajkumar’s relatives and other permanent and contract workers thronged the spot in thousands. The CISF personnel reportedly chased them away to the Cuddalore-Vriddhachalam road using stones and wooden rods.
The angry crowd retaliated by attacking the CISF personnel, who had to seek refuge in Mine-II. Later, the Tamil Nadu police strike force was rushed to the spot. Rajkumar’s relatives started arguing with the police officers and demanded the constable’s arrest. Following a heated exchange, the strike force resorted to lathicharge. Both sides pelted stones resulting in injuries. The strike force, however, was no match for the angry crowd, which gained the upper hand and moved towards the entrance. They also set the CISF room at the main entrance on fire.
The protesters blocked efforts to remove Rajkumar’s body until necessary action was
taken. The police were able to keep the crowds at bay using lathis till an ambulance reached the spot and removed Rajkumar’s body.
The victim’s wife Amala Rani and several other family members stood in front of the ambulance and refused to let it proceed. They were forcibly removed by the police personnel. The ambulance then took Rajkumar’s body to the Cuddalore Government Hospital. Rajkumar is survived by his wife, two-year-old son Vince Franklin and eight-month-old daughter Olivia. Rajkumar’s relatives and several trade union leaders demanded the immediate arrest of the CISF constable.
They also sought `25 lakh compensation for Rajkumar’s family and a job at the NLC for his wife. They held talks with Cuddalore DRO Manoharan and RDO Sharmila regarding their demands.
Many protesters, including trade union leaders, were injured in clashes with the police. LPF leader Thirumavalavan, AITUC district secretary Sekar and several others were admitted in the NLC General Hospital. DMK district secretary MRK Panneer Selvam, VCK State general secretary Chinthanai Selvan, CITU State
secretary Sugumaran and CPM district secretary T Arumugam visited the injured persons in the hospital.