CHENNAI: The state government, unlike the previous DMK regime, has allowed more protests in the state to protect democratic rights of the people of the state, said Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in the Assembly on Monday, when he replied to MK Stalin, the Opposition leader. His reply came after Stalin who raised the issue said that it was usual for political parties to conduct inspection when big projects were implemented in the state. The Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) has applied for permission to conduct a public meeting on the Salem-Chennai eight-lane green corridor project.
But, permission was denied to them, Stalin said, adding that similarly, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, Dharmapuri MP, was also denied permission to conduct a public hearing on the issue in Dharmapuri district. Likewise, former CPM MLA Balabarathi and Vaseegaran of Aam Aadmi Party, journalist of ‘Theekkathir’ daily were also arrested following their efforts to oppose the Salem-Chennai green corridor project. When a project is implemented against the people’s will, the people have the right to protest against the project. But, the state government is making efforts to stop the protests in an undemocratic way, Stalin charged, calling upon the state government to find an alternative way to implement the project and at the same time, protect freedom of expression.
Replying to Stalin’s remarks, he said, “Former MLA Balabarathi initially got the permission for only visiting the places where boundary stones were erected. But, she tried to speak to farmers of the area. Thereafter, she was arrested as part of preventive measures. However, she was released on the same day.”