Marina Beach deserted as edgy cops tighten security

More than 1000 police have been deployed in the Marina Beach area from Napier Bridge to Light House.

Chennai: Reeling under the nightmares of jallikattu protest of 2017, the city police after experiencing a pinch of flash agitation demanding Cauvery Management Board (CMB) on Saturday, had prepared themselves for Sunday.

More than 1000 police have been deployed in the Marina Beach area from Napier Bridge to Light House. “The security arrangements have been made under the leadership of 5 deputy commissioners. The deployment will not be pulled out until the positive intelligence,” said T.S. Anbu, Joint Commissioner of Police (Chennai East).

The beach, that welcomes thousands of visitors every Sunday, remained deserted as the beach-goers preferred other spots. Everywhere it was only ‘Khaki’. Apart from Marina Beach, the police have also beefed-up security at various spots including bus stands, Elliot’s Beach, Valluvar Kottam, Panagal Maligai and others.

On Saturday evening, the police leadership had been taken by surprise as the apolitical, leaderless group conducted a flash protest in Marina.

With photos and videos of the agitation circulated on social media platforms, city police seemed not to be taking any risk. Every vehicle entering the Beach Road had come under police scanner.

Early morning walkers also had a tough time owing to piles of questions thrown at them. “We regularly walk and stretch in the beach, but the police are asking too many questions. We regret coming here,” a regular walker said.

After struggling to locate the agitation spot on Saturday, police would have worked overnight, apparently. Apart from installing CCTV cameras at 5 spots on the beach, the police had also erected makeshift watchtowers at various spots.
Meanwhile, T.S. Anbu, who reviewed the arrangements at the beach on Sunday morning, reiterated that the protesters should avail proper permission from the police before staging agitations. “Marina Beach is a public place. So protesters will not be allowed here. We will give permission if protests held at notified spots,” he added.

Toll plaza vandalised

The Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) leader T. Velmurugan and 29 party cadres were arrested at a Sengurichi toll plaza near Ullundurpet on Sunday after they ransacked the toll plaza condemning the Centre and State governments for not obeying the Supreme Court verdict on Cauvery water issue. They have also protested against the Centre’s move to increase the toll in the toll plazas. The group vandalized the tollgate and broke glass shields. They have also attempted to block traffic on the highway. The toll collection was affected for nearly 30 minutes.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) increased the tariff by 5 to 7 percent in 20 toll plazas across the state from April 1. The increased tariff came into force from midnight of March 31. The one way fare for jeep, car and van has been increased to '90 from '85, and to '3,025 for monthly multiple entries for each vehicle.

The tariff increased to Rs 140 for single entry and to '4,655 for monthly multiple entries for light commercial vehicle. The toll for truck and heavy vehicles increased to '285 for single entry and Rs 9,455 for 50 multiple entries for a month
Protesting against the steep hike, the TVK has staged protest at several toll plazas on highways and they also observe non-payment of toll at these booths.
Holding placards and banners condemning the Centre and NHAI for raising the toll and for its failure to form Cauvery Water Management Board, over 200 TVK cadres led by its founder leader T Velmurugan have assembled at Sengurichi toll plaza at 11.30 am on Sunday. They have raised slogans condemning the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for adopting anti-Tamil policies in various issues including Cauvery water issue, Gail pipeline issue and Neutrino Observatory (INO) project at Bodi hills, Theni District. They also raised slogans against the State government for toeing the line of Centre.

The Villupuram Superintendent of Police S. Jeyakumar has posted a large contingent of police force at the plaza. Soon after the cadres assembled at the plaza the cops demanded the cadres to disperse from the place and not to cause trouble in the place. However, the cadres removed the barricades and damaged the toll booths. The glass panels were damaged in the incident and staffs have decamped from the place.

The party cadres – Dhanasenthil and Guna have attempted to immolate themselves in the place. However, the police have scuttled their move by spraying water on them. After launching mild lathi-charge the cadres, including Velmurugan were taken to a marriage hall. The police registered case against them under various sections including Tamil Nadu Property (Prevention Of Damage And Loss) Act, 1992 and arrested. They were remanded to prison in the evening.

Meanwhile, the party cadres have also staged demonstration at toll plaza at Vilkkiravandi, near Tindivanam in Villupuram district and Sriperumbudur in Kanchipuram district. The TVK cadres also staged protest at Neelamboor toll plaza in outskirts of Coimbatore condemning the hike in toll fare. When the attempted to block road, the police arrested 12 TVK cadres.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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