Protests by multiple organisations broke out in Coimbatore on Friday, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival at 5.30pm, for the unveiling of a 112-foot tall Shiva statue at Coimbatore’s Isha Yoga Centre.
11 organisations including the Forum against Bhavani River Dam, Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam, All Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Federation, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Tamil Manila Congress, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and the Social Democratic Party of India, bore black flags and raised slogans against the PM and the central government’s “anti-Tamil Nadu policies”.
The protest attained a high pitch when the protesters tried to block public roads, and 250 people were finally detained.
Speaking at the protest, TPDK General Secretary, Ku Ramakrishnan said that the Isha Yoga Centre’s own actions in regard to wildlife proved the fact of its encroachments. “The fact that they have formed a committee to monitor the movement of wild animals, ahead of the event in which PM Modi is participating, shows that they have encroached onto the habitat of wild animals.
He also accused the central government of being anti-Tamil Nadu, and said that the centre’s bias against Tamil Nadu was shown in its failures to even follow Supreme Court directions on the Cauvery water issue.
Continuous protests have been occurring in Coimbatore since the announcement that PM Modi would be taking part in an event of the Isha Yoga Centre, which is embroiled in a series of legal cases over building and land violations, including a 2013 Madras High Court notice to demolish 44,000 sq ft of buildings. Activists have accused the PM of promoting an organisation accused of rampant environmental violations, and therefore tacitly endorsing its violations.