Protests erupted across Tamil Nadu on Saturday, a day after the Chennai Police baton charged a group of people demonstrating against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Washermanpet, The Indian Express reported. Four policemen had also been injured in Friday’s protests. The police alleged that they resorted to baton charge because the protestors pelted stones at them.
The Friday’s incident led to sporadic protests in at least 12 towns across Tamil Nadu on Saturday. Traders in Kannur shut shop to protest the alleged police atrocities. There were reports of protests in Tiruchendur too. Over 1,000 people carried out a protest outside a post office in Kumbakonam district, while another protest took place at Melapalyam in Nellai.
Protestors blocked a road on the Chidambaram-Trichy Highway, while over 500 people continued a demonstration in Ramanathapuram district. Over 1,000 women gathered in Washermanpet to protest the incident, and shops remained closed in the area.
Meanwhile, Chennai Commissioner of Police AK Viswanathan met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami at the latter’s residence on Saturday to explain the police action against protestors. In a 30-minute meeting, the commissioner also told Palaniswami about the various protests going on around the city.
On Friday, Viswanathan had met representatives of Muslim groups and community leaders, following which the protest at Washermanpet came to an end.
Opposition parties condemn police action
Opposition parties condemned the police “atrocities” on the protestors, The Hindu reported. DMK President MK Stalin claimed the protests were being held in a peaceful manner and sought to know why the police used force to disperse them. On Friday, Stalin had alleged that the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government has no regard for democracy.
“Lathi charge was done unnecessarily on the peaceful people for no reason and this prompted people across the state to take to the streets,” Stalin said on Saturday.
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader TTV Dhinakaran claimed that using force against the protestors amounted to “stirring up a hornet’s nest”. He said such incidents should not be repeated. Meanwhile, Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam adopted a resolution in its district secretaries meeting, attacking the police.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party leader H Raja condemned the violence during the protest, which led to injuries to four policemen. He said “rioters should be dealt with an iron fist”.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, grants citizenship to people from six communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, if they have entered India by December 31, 2014. However, the Act excludes Muslims from its scope. Protests against the Act have led to 28 deaths so far.