COIMBATORE/CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government today ordered closure of a liquor outlet in Tirupur district following outrage over "assault" on a woman by a police official during a crackdown on a protest against the shop.
As the official's act, caught on camera, drew strong condemnation and protests, the district administration ordered closure of the liquor outlet in Samalapuram, about 20 km from Tirupur, and an inquiry into the incident.
The incident occurred last evening when a group of people, including women, blocked a road demanding closure of state-run TASMAC liquor outlet, relocated to their locality consequent to the ban on sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways.
As the protesters refused to disperse, Additional Deputy Superintendent of Police Pandiarajan allegedly slapped a woman and pushed two others, asking them to move away from the road.
Protesting this, a section of the agitators allegedly hurled stones at police, who resorted to lathicharge to disperse them.
Police said three persons were injured in the melee with one of them being hospitalised.
As the video showing the official's act went viral, various political parties, including DMK and BJP condemned the 'police brutality'.
The matter was raised in the Madras High Court today by way of two petitions seeking action against the ADSP.
When the petitions came up for hearing after a special mention before a bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, state Advocate General R Muthukumaraswamy submitted that action was being initiated against the erring police official and an inquiry had been ordered.
He also said the licence for relocating the shop had been cancelled by the District Collector.
The AG submitted the government had initiated action to relocate the outlet as per the Supreme Court order banning liquor shops within 500 metres of national and state highways.
During the course of relocation, some crowd gathered at the spot and staged protest . Police intervened when they started hurling stones, he said adding some police personnel were also injured in the incident.
The court then directed the government to give medical assistance to the injured at its cost in the hospital chosen by the victims and disposed of the petitions, filed by K Balu of PMK's legal wing and social activist Traffic Ramaswamy.
Samalapuram witnessed protest against police action with traders shutting their shops.
A group of 27 local residents launched a fast late last night, demanding action against the ADSP.
District Superintendent of Police E S Uma rushed to the spot and held talks with them at around 3.30 am in a bid to persuade them to give up their protest.
As they refused to call off the agitation, all the 27 were detained later, police said.
But another batch of around 75 people commenced a fast this morning, demanding the dismissal of the ADSP. They also demanded release of 27 people taken into custody.
BJP's Tamil Nadu unit President Tamilisai Soundarajan met the protesters and condemned police action.
Earlier, in a tweet, she said the police official "who assaulted women protesting against liquor outlet deserve condemnation and should be sacked (sic)".