Protest against custody of environmental activists during Stalin's visit to Erode

by IANS |

Chennai, Feb 25 (IANS) Tamil Nadu activists have protested against the preventive custody of three environmental activists ahead of the visit of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to poll-bound Erode.

The environmental activists led by R.S. Mugilan had sought permission from the Erode district police for conducting a democratic black flag protest against the Chief Minister during his arrival at Erode.

The protest was against the state government's failure to protect the lives of social activists who had brought to light an illegal mining activity at AChenniamalai in Erode district.

But the police denied permission stating that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was in force for the Erode East by-polls to be held on February 27.

Despite this, Muligan informed the police that he would conduct a protest near the Erode bus stand on Saturday.

On Friday night, the police took Muligan, P. Tamil Selvan, and Viswanathan into preventive custody, saying that they would be let off only after 6 p.m. when campaigning in Erode ends.

Environmental and social activists protested against this.

R. Sunderaswami, Professor of Social sciences at a college of Erode, told IANS: "This is purely against democracy. I don't know whether Chief Minister is in the know of things or whether the police have gone one step ahead to please their masters in detaining the environmental activists who were to protest democratically. This is not the right way to be taken by a political party which swears by the Dravidian equality theory."

Majid Khan, social activist and director of environmental group, Social and Scientific Study centre, based out of Salem, told IANS: "This is unfortunate. The DMK government has lowered itself by such an act. What is there for such a black flag demonstration? This is a democracy and people have all the right to protest."

Muligan had pointed out that a leader of a mainstream political party had conducted mining and extracted profits to the tune of Rs 16 crore from Chenniamalai in Erode district.

The activists complained that even after several petitions to the revenue department and police, no action was taken.

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