COIMBATORE: First it was over bull, then for the farmers. Now, galvanised by the new-found spirit of rising in resistance, protests are blooming across the State over shifting Tasmac liquor retail shops from highways to residential neighbourhoods, the latest challenge that the already-embattled State government has in its hands.
Unlike the jallikattu protests that were staged in key locations like Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, these are spread across rural and urban centres, often led by women, who gather in large numbers to stop outlets from being located near their houses.
Weekly grievances meetings at district collectorates are flooded with petitions against the move, while the protests have attracted the attention of many, including IT employees, who joined the protest in places like Saravanampatti in Coimbatore.
At Samalapuram in Tirupur, protesters stood their ground even after police lathi-charge and assault, while at Porampattu village in Vellore, protesters ransacked an outlet.
The agitations reveal the mind of the people, which the government should take as feedback, said folk singer Kovan of Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam, who was arrested for his song demanding the closure of Tasmac outlets.
“This isn’t like the situation in 2003, when the government took over liquor sales. People are more aware. Also, getting the district administration’s clearance is tough,” said Coimbatore district Tasmac staff association general secretary John Anthony Raj.