Chennai: AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday urged the Tamil Nadu government to revoke the detention of seven farmers under the Goondas Act for protesting against the Melma SIPCOT project in Tiruvannamalai district on November 4.
The farmers had staged a peaceful protest expressing their resentment against the taking over of about 3,300 acres of agriculture lands for the SIPCOT project at Cheyyar taluk in Tiruvannamalai district, he said, and warned of protests by the AIADMK if the government did not withdraw the Act and free the ryots.
Seven farmers were detained under the Goondas Act while 15 other farmers and activists were arrested for staging the protest. The Tiruvannamalai district administration had then stated that the seven farmers had conducted themselves "prejudicial to public order and equality." Farmers in the district have been protesting against the proposed industrial estate expansion project, as it envisaged the acquisition of farmlands in 9 panchayats, Palaniswami said in a statement here. His party extended support to the farmers on the issue, and held a massive protest on October 4.
"The DMK government registered a series of cases against the youth and farmers in order to discourage them from participating in the protest and to suppress their agitation," the former chief minister alleged in the statement. Cases were registered against farmers who had no previous record, and seven farmers were detained under the Goondas Act, he said.
"Areas like the Melma Koot Road and Koolamanthal look like a battlefield. To be specific, this government is trying to control the farmers' protest by putting up barricades and cordoning off the area with barbed wire fences as placed on the India-Pakistan border," the AIADMK leader alleged. He recalled that during his tenure, he had not only allowed protests but also fulfilled the just demands of the ryots.
"The DMK government should immediately withdraw the Goondas Act invoked against 7 farmers. Otherwise, I warn that the AIADMK will hold protests in support of the farmers to ensure their safety," Palaniswami said.