[Fwd: Police Brutally Attacks Kisan Demonstrators]

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Sat Dec 2 10:24:13 MST 2000







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TAMIL NADU(INDIA)

Police Brutally Attacks Kisan Demonstrators

 

ON September 25, Tamil Nadu police brutally attacked at several places the
peaceful demonstrations that were organised in support of a charter of demands
by the All India Kisan Sabha.

These demonstrations were the culmination point of the statewide campaign
organised by Tamilaga Vivasayeegal Sangam, an AIKS affiliate, over the previous
few days in support of the AIKS demands.

The charter included demands like fair prices for agricultural commodities
including sugarcane, onion, chilly, tomato etc, and steps by the central and
state governments to protect the Indian peasants’ interests from the ill
effects of WTO-related agreements on their livelihood. One of the demands was
that the panchami lands be recovered from the landlords, who usurped these from
Dalits, and be redistributed.

Moreover, due to crop failures, kisans are not in a position to repay their
debts. Hence the Sangam demanded waiver of these debts, kists and interest
thereon. The Sangam asked the government to withdraw the cases filed against the
Nilgiri tea growers. The campaign aroused an awareness among other sections as
well, like agricultural labourers.

On September 25, nearly 50,000 workers of the Kisan Sabha demonstrated at 50
points all over the state.

At Chennai, the state capital, demonstrators gathered near General Hospital
under the leadership of K Balakrishnan, the Sangam’s general secretary.
The AIDWA, SFI, DYFI, CITU and other mass organisations supported this struggle
and their cadres joined it. But the city police did not allow the demonstrators
to assemble, squat and raise slogans. When the cadres prepared to violate the
prohibitory order, the police unleashed violence instead of arresting them. They
chased the peaceful demonstrators and lathicharged them brutally. They beat even
women demonstrators, vendors and the general public nearby. More than 50 persons
were seriously injured. An agricultural labourer, Smt Pachaiammal, who came to
the demonstration from the city’s outskirts, was brutally attacked. Her
shoulder was fractured. The police attack on the cadres continued for more than
an hour. Journalists covering and photographing these events were also beaten
up. Jaffer, a well known photo-journalist of the CPI(M)’s daily
Theekkathir, was also at tacked and his costly camera was damaged.

After all this barbarity, the police arrested some 100 volunteers and remanded
them later.

The police did not spare even those volunteers who were admitted to various
government hospitals, and beat them mercilessly. Four demonstrators were
arrested and the police kept them in custody without allowing them proper
treatment for their injuries. This was violative of all norms and a clear case
of usurpation of human rights.

Tamil Nadu police attacked the Sangam demonstration at a few other places in the
state.

TMC president G K Moopanar, state Congress president E V S Illangovan, DK
general secretary K Veeramani, Janata Dal’s Jagaveera Pandiyan and scores
of CPI(M) leaders and functionaries visited the hospitals and met the injured.
Moopanar condemned the lathicharge against peaceful demonstrators.

CPI state secretary R Nallakannu strongly came down on the brutal police action
and urged the state government to release all those arrested in connection with
the agitation.

Meanwhile, strongly condemning the brutal action on the women who had taken part
in the protest along with the peasants, AIDWA state unit’s working
chairperson, Mythily Sivaraman demanded a judicial enquiry into the unprovoked
attack which seems politically motivated.

The CPI(M) state secretariat termed the lathicharge as a brutal action against
the peasantry. In a statement, the party said 28 injured demonstrators including
three women were hospitalised and five protestors were badly beaten up. Later,
on September 28, the party organised demonstrations at all district headquarters
in the state to protest and condemn the police brutality. CPI(M) state secretary
N Sankariah participated in the demonstration in Chennai.

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