The Coimbatore police on Thursday arrested Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Working President MK Stalin and 100 other party men while they were on their way to Salem to oversee the desilting work of a lake, The Hindu reported. Stalin was also scheduled to attend a human chain protest seeking Tamil Nadu’s exemption from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test in Salem later on Thursday evening.

The police stopped Stalin’s convoy and detained him at a check post in Kaniyur, reported PTI. Stalin said, “This is nothing but an effort to defame the DMK, which with the support of other parties has taken up the students’ cause over Neet and is organising the human chain.” He also questioned the ban on him visiting the lake and said the police stopped him citing a law and order problem.

On Tuesday, a group of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Amma) workers had entered the Kacharayan Kuttai lake with tractors to desilt it, which had led to a clash between the DMK and AIADMK (Amma) workers.

The Neet controversy

On July 22, Stalin had said the introduction of the Neet exam had put social justice in danger. He had said that his party had ensured reservation to economically-weak communities in Tamil Nadu, which helped students from lower backgrounds become engineers and doctors. The DMK had planned a protest on the matter on July 27.

Currently, medical college admissions are done on the basis of Neet scores. However, the AIADMK-led state government has been opposing the Neet. They have been asking for reservation to protect the interests of students from Tamil Nadu.