The night-long protest by the Islamic groups at North Chennai in Tamil Nadu against “police brutality” came to an end after police officials held talks with the protesters for the third time on Saturday (February 15).
It all began on Friday afternoon at Washermanpet, when several people sat on a protest, demanding the passage of a resolution in the state assembly against the amended Citizenship law, without securing the nod from the police. Soon the word spread and residents of the city in other localities followed suit. When the cops asked them to disperse they refused to comply which led to a scuffle, initially, and culminated in lathi-charge.
As things appeared to go out of control, the strength of the police was increased to deal with the rising number of agitators, all over. In Washermanpet alone, nearly 150 people were detained.
Elsewhere, to contain the situation from spiralling out of control, police used force against the protesters. Some agitators were seen being kicked and dragged by the cops. There were also reports of protesters pelting stones on the policemen which led to four personnel getting injured.
Blaming the police, a woman protester said, “We did not block any main road, we did not disturb the public. Our protest largely remained within our area and it was the police who used force and charged at us to remove us.”
She further alleged that the cops did not differentiate between men and women. “They treated both men and women badly and beat us brutally,” she said.
A few other women accused the male police of manhandling them.
Misinformation that triggered sporadic protest
Meanwhile, an elderly man succumbing to his illness was mistaken to have fallen prey to the police crackdown on the protesters, which in turn triggered further outcry in other parts of the state. A lot many people took to the streets in an expression of solidarity with their Chennai counterparts.
“Even we did not initially know the reason for the sudden outbreak of sporadic protests in Chennai and other parts of the State. It took a while for us to crackdown on the misinformation being spread on the social media,” Chennai police said.
Following a meeting between the Chennai city police commissioner AK Viswanathan and representatives of the protesters, all those detained were let off. But despite that over 1000 women continued their protest through the night on Friday condemning the behaviour of the law enforcement machinery.
On Saturday, Chennai top cop Vishwanathan cautioned people against spreading false information saying that would lead to chaos. He even called on the injured personnel at the hospital.
DMK slams police action
Terming February 14 night as a “black night”, DMK chief MK Stalin said that police action unwarranted and undemocratic. DMK Women wing leader K. Kanimozhi held the Joint commissioner Kapilkumar Saratkar responsible for the violence.
“Joint Commissioner (North) Kapil Kumar Saratkar mishandled the situation which led to violence. Kapilkumar was the DIG when Thoothukudi firing took place. He is under probe by both the CBI & a Commission of Inquiry. He should have been posted in a non-sensitive post till the probe in Thoothukudi firing was completed. Instead, he was rewarded with the post of JCP (L&O). He should be suspended immediately and a probe ordered into the violence,” she wrote on her Facebook.