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Washermanpet violence triggers protests in Tamil Nadu

DECCAN CHRONICLE / PTI
Published Feb 15, 2020, 6:21 pm IST
Updated Feb 15, 2020, 6:33 pm IST
Opposition parties criticize police for use of force against protesters
Members of the Muslim outfit Thowheed Jamath stage a protest against the violence at a rally against the Citizenship amendment Act in Chennai, February 15, 2020. (PTI)
 Members of the Muslim outfit Thowheed Jamath stage a protest against the violence at a rally against the Citizenship amendment Act in Chennai, February 15, 2020. (PTI)

Chennai: The AIADMK government of Tamil Nadu was raked over the coals by opposition parties a day after a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Chennai turned violent.

Police used force to evict Muslim protesters at Washermanpet in Chennai after they picketed the street and looked set to turn the place into a Shaheen Bagh like protest venue. Hundreds oprotesters turned up at the venue and drew the police into a standoff that lasted into the late evening. When it looked like the protesters intended to hunker down for a long-drawn protest, police used force to scatter the crowd.

 

Police claimed that four of their personnel—a woman joint commissioner, two women constables and a sub-inspector—were injured in stonepelting by the protesters.

On Saturday, solidarity protests were held in other parts of Tamil Nadu, and opposition parties led by the DMK lashed out at the police for using force against the protesters.

The ruling AIADMK made soothing overtures to the Muslim community and said “Goebbels-like propaganda” was being waged against it.

Police appealed to the public to not to share any “provocative” messages on social media in this connection, even as anti-CAA protests by members of the Muslim community continued in different parts of the state.

 

Tamil Nadu revenue minister R B Udayakumar said the ‘Amma government’ had always accorded high priority to the welfare of Muslims.

Speaking to reporters in Madurai, he said chief minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam were “protecting Muslims like their children and family members.”

“Those unable to stomach this are unleashing lies and Goebbels-like propaganda,” he said.

DMK president M K Stalin said the use of force by the police was unjustified.

“A lathicharge was done unnecessarily on peaceful people and this prompted people across the state to take to the streets,” Stalin said in a statement.

 

He said Friday was turned into a “black night” by the police.

Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dhinakaran also targeted the government over the protest. “Using force in peaceful protests amounts to stirring up a hornet’s nest,” the independent legislator said in a statement.

He wished such incidents did not repeat.

The Vaiko-led MDMK adopted a resolution in its district secretaries meeting, slamming the police for using force against protestors.

BJP leader H Raja, whose party is an ally of the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, slammed the violence against police personnel in the protests.

 

In a tweet, he said “rioters should be dealt with an iron fist.”

Viswanathan visited the injured police personnel admitted to a private and government hospital.

Friday night’s violent protest had its echo in New Delhi on Saturday with a group of people, including students of Jamia Millia Islamia, demonstrating at Tamil Nadu House there on Saturday.

The small group of protesters tried to march from Bihar Bhavan towards Tamil Nadu House, and raised anti-BJP and anti-RSS slogans in Tamil. They were stopped midway, police said.

 

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