Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) president Anbumani Ramadoss and a large number of his supporters have been arrested after a protest organised by the party against the Neyveli Lignite Corporation's (NLC) recent takeover of land with standing crops.
According to media reports, after addressing a protest meeting, Ramadoss, followed by a large number of PMK members tried to go beyond the barricades placed at the entrance arch.
When the police arrived to detain them, they reportedly hurled stones and plastic bottles and clashed with the police, damaging the windshields of two of them.
The police resorted to lathi charge, tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesting PMK workers.
NLC, which is a public sector undertaking of the central government, was taking possession of the land it had acquired years ago for the expansion of its mining projects in the region.
According to a report by The Hindu, the company acquired 304 hectares of land between 2006 and 2015 but had not taken possession of 31 hectares because of which, the farmers continued to cultivate the land.
It is this land that the company had taken over recently, stated the report.
Farmers in the region are however unhappy with the compensation offered and have also been demanding permanent jobs in the company as their livelihood would be affected.
After the emergence of the videos of earthmovers destroying standing crops, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Annamalai spoke to the NLC Director over the phone and urged him to reach an amicable solution.
In a letter posted on social media, BJP state secretary A Ashvathaman said that he had met Union Minister Pralhad Joshi asking him to immediately stop land acquisition activities, especially in Valayamadevi (from where the videos emerged).
He said that Joshi had asked him to come to Delhi once again and a meeting would be arranged with NLC officials to sort out the issue.
Further, he asked what was the need for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government to go ahead with the process in such a hurry when the Union minister had promised action.
He added that based on his conversation with the NLC chairman, who had told him that they could not compensate the farmers at a rate higher than what was decided by the state government as the company did not have the authority to do so, it should be understood that the company has a very limited role to play in the current situation.
Urging the state government to refrain from destroying standing crops, he said he was confident that the BJP would be able to bring a solution to resolve the issue.
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