TIRUPUR:A woman protester was allegedly slapped by Tirupur Additional Superintendent of Police and a man was left bleeding after police used force to remove agitators at Samalapuram in Palladam on Tuesday.
The local residents launched a road blockade at Samalapuram inter-junction in the morning, demanding that a Tasmac outlet functioning in their village be removed.
The outlet, which was situated along a State highway, was relocated as per the Supreme Court order to a place near the inter-junction of the district road connecting Karanampettai in Tirupur district and Neelambur in Coimbatore district, NH 47 (Avinashi Road) and NH 67 (Tiruchy Road). As the outlet was about to start functioning in its new location, the villagers also launched their protest.
During the protest, the villagers picketed Sulur MLA R Kanagaraj, who was passing through the area with his family. Left with no other option, the MLA too joined the road blockade. Almost three hours into the protest, the Collector gave him an assurance that the outlet would be closed. Subsequently, the MLA left the spot.
Meanwhile, a police team comprising Additional Superintendent of Police Pandiarajan, Deputy Superintendent of Police for Palladam S Manokaran and Tasmac District Manager Rajan, arrived on the spot and held talks with the protesting villagers. They reportedly assured that the outlet will be shifted.
Collector S Jayandhi and Minister for Housing and Urban Development K Radhakrishnan, both of whom were in a meeting at Tirupur, also spoke with the protesters over phone and assured the same.
However, the villagers refused to leave the spot, demanding that the outlet be dismantled immediately. Minutes after the MLA left the spot, the police launched a lathicharge to disperse over 500-member-strong crowd. Over 50 Armed Reserve personnel reportedly joined the lathicharge, in which over 20 villagers were injured.
Pandiarajan was seen slapping a female protester in a video shot by someone in the crowd. The woman was later identified as Eswari from nearby Ayyampalayam. Sivaganesh, a native of Samalapuram, suffered severe head injuries.
Later, Superintendent of Police E S Uma arrived as the villagers started an indefinite hunger strike after the police action. However, the talks failed. “Departmental action will be initiated against the erring personnel if we get a complaint from protesters,” she said.
In his reaction, DMK working president M K Stalin sought the arrest of Pandiarajan. PMK youth wing president Anbumani Ramadoss also condemned the attack. DMDK leader Vijayakant said if departmental action was not taken against the erring officer, his party would stage a demonstration. MDMK presidium chairman Tirupur S Duraisamy said action should be taken against the police officer.