December 8th, 2011
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Mullaperiyar issue affects common man of both states

coimbatore-protestNews Story/ Coimbatore Special correspondent

Coimbatore: As many as 40 persons, including 11 college students, were arrested on Wednesday when they attempted to gherao a few shops owned by Keralites in the city. Except a minor incident at a bakery at the State Bank Road, preemptive measures by the city police prevented any untoward incident and the shops were remained open through out the day.

The protests were held after reports that people from Tamilnadu were attacked in the neighbouring state over the Mullaiperiyar dam dispute. Cadres belonging to the Tamil Desiya Pothu Udamai Katchi assembled in front two jewellery shops at Cross Cut road and raised slogans demanding the closure of the shops. However, they were quickly removed from the spot by the police personnel, who were already posted at the spot as a precautionary measure.

While heavy police bandobast was posted at a bakery in front of Railway station anticipating attack on the shop, the protestors gave police the slip when they instead targetted another bakery just few meters away. As many as 21 members of Tamil Nadu Manavar Kazhagam entered the bakery and demanded them to shutdown the shop. The protestors also damaged a glass showcase.

Police swiftily removed the 21 members of the students association and arrested them. The protestors have been booked under various IPC sections. Bittering relationship with Kerala over the Mullaiperiyar dam issue also has eroded livelihood of several daily wage labourers from Tamilnadu. Several labourers from the state who were working in Kerala are returning home after they were allegedly intimidated by the political party cadres.

Viswanathan, a native of a village from Nilgiris, is one person who says he was working in Eranakulam district as labourer over the last 20 years and had never faced such a situation before.

“For the last few weeks, every day a mob would surround me and use abusive language. They called me by names and said I should not be there anymore or else I would be assaulted. I was unable to take the torture anymore and decided to leave overnight,” he says. According to him, there are several people from the Nilgiris district who were working as labourers in Kerala and many of them are returning home. “I am very afraid to go there again as I can be assaulted any time. I would better do some work in my native and earn a living,” Viswanathan says.


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