Anti Kerala protests in Tamilnadu goes out of control

published on December 9, 2011

Mullaperiyar spills over to city streets

COIMBATORE: The interstate angst over the Mullaperiyar dam spilled on to city streets with cadres of a lesser known Tamil Nationalist movement vandalising commercial establishments owned by Keralites. Police personnel rushed to the spot and stopped the vandalism in Gandhipuram railway station, but not before the vandals broke glass cases and obstructed employees and customers at a bakery near the railway station. As many as 50 people were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the incident.

Initially the police arrested 36 cadres of Tamil Nationalist outfit Tamil Desiya Pothuvudamai Katchi and Naam Tamilar outfits involved in the incident. More than 10 activists including a woman and cadres of Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Viduthalai Chiruthaikkal Katchi and other outfits were arrested later in the evening when they tried to block police personnel taking the arrested cadres to be produced before magistrate and remanded under custody.

Police personnel have been put on high alert across the district, especially in pockets where the Malayalee population is high. As many as 900 police personnel have been deployed for this purpose. Check posts and entry points into the district are also put on alert following the incident of alleged hooliganism by mobs against Tamils, along the Kerala border near Theni district, over the Mullaperiyar dam controversy.

“Some individuals tried to take the law into their own hands over the dam controversy, disrupting sales at shops owned by Keralites. A police party was immediately dispatched to Cross Cut Road, which hosts a line of jewellery stores owned by Keralites, and they were arrested and removed,” said Hema Karunakaran, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Coimbatore City.

The morning protest was organised by a lesser known Tamil Nationalist outfit Tamil Desiya Pothuvudamai Katchi and Naam Tamilar outfits at Cross Cut road and near the Railway Station. The protesters distributed leaflets demanding the ouster of all Keralites in Tamil Nadu for the alleged atrocities committed against Tamils residing in Kerala over the Mullaperiyar dam controversy. As many as 15 people were arrested from Cross Cut Road and another 21 were picked up from railway station.

The arrested persons have been booked under relevant sections including 147,341 and 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

“Keralites have no right to be in Tamil Nadu if their state continues to adopt an anti Tamil Nadu stand in the dam issue,” said one of the protestors while they were being taken into custody.

At least three jewellery outlets were targeted on Cross Cut Road alone where protesters tried to enter and force employees to down their shutters. However, none of the shops were vandalised due to timely police intervention. Within minutes, the police were informed that another group was moving towards the railway station to target a popular bakery chain in the city. Though the police quickly took position outside the main bakery just opposite the railway station, the culprits targeted a smaller franchise of the bakery chain between the railway station and district collectorate.

“There were around 20 customers inside when the incident happened. A few people barged in, smashed the glass covering of the display shelf and started shouting slogans against Keralites,” said TP Chandran, an employee of the bakery.

Coimbatore rural SP ES Uma said that police stations in areas including Thudiyalur, Pollachi, Vadavalli and Mettupalayam areas have been put on high alert as a precautionary measure. She also added that stringent action would be taken against those indulging in violence. “We want to assure people that all measures are being taken to ensure their safety and security. They should come forward and report any untoward incident to the police and we will take stringent action,” said ES Uma.

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