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Activists harassed for protesting against forcible land acquisition

Activists and Protestors

Tamil Nadu

 

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on October 15, 2019 regarding the harassment of activists on 28 September, 2019, who were protesting against forcible acquisition of agricultural land for high power transmission lines by the government in Tiruppur district of Tamil Nadu. A team from Joint Action Committee of Farmer Organisations headed by former Panchayat President Mr. Parthasarathy and 11 other women members had visited a forcibly acquired land to survey the destruction on agricultural land. On the orders of Special Thasildar Ms. Kanimozhi, ADSP Mr. Gunasekaran arrested them after which they were detained and threatened in several ways.

Since the year 2017, revenue department officials, under the supervision of District Collector of Tirupur, have been acquiring agricultural land from the farmers where windmills were erected to save the generated power, a project undertaken by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation. Farmers in Tiruppur district had organized themselves into Joint Action Committee of Farmer Organisations and have been working against this forcible land acquisition as no consultations were made with farmers in regards to the entire process.

On August 22, around 10.30 am, a team of officials from revenue department and police officers including Revenue Divisional Officer Ms. Shenbagavalli, Special Thasildhar Ms. Kanimozhi, Thasildhar Ms. Shanthi, Additional Deputy Superintendent of Police (ADSP) Mr. Gunasekaran, Mr. Arul, the Inspector of Police, Kaamanaayakkanpalayam Police Station, along with nearly 100 police personnel forcibly acquired land with Survey No:204 belonging to Mr. Chenniyappan in Kaliappan Gounden Puthur, Palladam Taluk, Tirupur District. There was no prior information regarding this conveyed belonging to Mr. Chenniyappan, whose only source of livelihood was the land, where the crops were also destroyed by police personnel.

The Joint Action Committee of Farmer Organisations visited the land after receiving information on the same. After Ms. Banumathi, one of the members asked the Special Thasildar Ms. Kanimozhi about the acquisition without permission, she was told “I am the Thasildar and you cannot question me.”  Ms Kanimozhi also ordered ADSP Mr. Gunasekaran to arrest them, after which all members of the Committee including women, some of whom were carrying their children were made to stand for nearly 3 hours in the agricultural field itself. After this, at 2 PM, only women were taken to the surrounding villages in a police vehicle for nearly two hours and dropped in a forest area near Karudampudhur, far away from their respective villages. Rest of the members including Mr. Parthasarathy were detained without being provided food in a private hall in Putharasal village until 9 pm. The police personnel also threatened other people joining the protest and the ADSP Mr. Gunasekaran pushed Ms. Sivakami from her scooter when she was headed there and threatened her with false cases against her.

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