NLCIL protest: PMK, Anbumani Ramadoss
NLCIL land acquisition issue: PMK chief Anbumani Ramadoss and his party leaders during a protest in Neyveli on Friday (July 28). Image tweeted by PMK

Neyveli Lignite land row: PMK protest turns violent, Ramadoss arrested

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A protest by Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) party turned violent in Tamil Nadu’s Neyveli in Cuddalore district on Friday (July 28) and the party president Anbumani Ramadoss was arrested along with PMK workers.

The PMK leaders and workers were protesting against the Tamil Nadu government’s acquisition of farmlands, including areas with standing paddy crops, allegedly for Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited’s (NLCIL) expansion.

The protest turned violent when PMK cadres pelted stones at police. To bring the situation under control, police resorted to lathi charge and used water cannons to disperse the crowd.

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PMK chief and former Union minister Ramadoss and his party workers were arrested and taken away in a van by police.

On Thursday, a senior official at NLCIL had claimed that no new land was being acquired for now and that the enterprise was only involved in canal diversion work to prevent inundation in NLC’s mines.

Tamil Nadu BJP state president K Annamalai, on Thursday, took strong exception to the “manner of acquiring lands using earthmovers to destroy paddy crop” and said a proper procedure ought to be followed in taking possession of the property.

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“I took up the issue with NLCIL’s Chief Managing Director on Wednesday. I sought enhanced compensation for the lands to be acquired and a job for a member of each family that gave lands to the NLC. And he responded positively,” Annamalai told reporters when his attention was drawn to the farmers’ protests.

If it was the state government’s revenue department involved in acquiring lands on behalf of the NLC, then it should follow a proper procedure as per the Land Acquisition Act and not resort to force of any kind, he said. “Destroying standing paddy crop is unfair,” he said.

Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) founder Vijayakanth said land should be acquired only after obtaining the approval of the land owners and not by coercion.

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