PUDUCHERRY:As many as 50 activists of French India Viduthalai Kaala Makkal Iyyakkam were arrested when they attempted to march towards the Raj Nivas demanding that August 16 be declared as Republic Day of Puducherry. The activists, led by D Sivaraj, celebrated the 54th de-jure Day and then marched towards the Raj Nivas.
On November 1,1954, the French government merged de-facto all the four regions of the Union Territory with the Indian union marking the end of its nearly 300 years of here.
A referendum was conducted on October 18, 1954 by the French administration in the border village Kizhur. Out of the 178 members of the then representative council participated in the referendum at Kizhur, 170 favoured the merger with the Indian Union.
The de-jure (legal merger) transfer of power was on August 16, 1962 with the French Parliament ratifying the treaty of cession.
To mark this historical day, last year the government decided to celebrate a Liberation Day. Accordingly, November 1 is celebrated as Liberation Day of Puducherry while August 16 is celebrated as Independence Day of UT. However, the French Indian Viduthalai Kaala Makkal Iyyakkam, a movement of people who opted for Indian citizenship at the time of the merger, want November 1 declared as Independence Day, and August 16 as the Republic Day of the UT.