Actor Mansoor Ali Khan was detained by the Salem police in Chennai on Sunday morning, allegedly for his remarks against the proposed Chennai-Salem expressway.
Speaking to TNM, Omalur DSP Baskaran confirmed the arrest but refused to divulge further details. The actor was reportedly picked up by the Salem police from his house in Choolaimedu in Chennai.
Specific details of the case that has been registered are awaited.
Over the past few weeks, the proposed project has been facing stiff resistance from farmers and residents in the villages along the highway.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the area on Saturday, Mansoor Ali Khan said, "I came to Salem to see the water bodies filled with water. If Salem gets an airport, 8-lane highway etc, people can't live in Salem. If the 8-lane road comes, then many trees and hills will be destroyed. It will affect the livelihood of the people who live here. Hence, the state and the central government must not implement it. Moreover, if there are protests against the highway, I will definitely participate. If the eight-lane project is implemented, then I will kill eight people and go to jail."
The ‘Chennai-Salem Greenfield Corridor’ under the Bharatmala Pariyojana, a centrally-sponsored and funded road and highways project, is a 277.30 km highway that involves the development of the Tambaram to Harur Section of NH-179B, Harur to Salem Section of NH-179A, Chengalpattu to Kancheepuram Section of NH-132B, Semmampadi to Chetpet Section of NH-179D and Polur to Tiruvannamalai Section of NH-38.
The corridor essentially involves an eight-lane highway, connecting the two cities via Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram.
Farmers of Poolavari, Nilavarapatti, Naazhikkalpatti, Kuppanur and Achankuttapatti villages have already expressed concern with locals from the last village even reportedly blocking Revenue Department officials from surveying the land that had to be acquired.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami stated in the Assembly that the state government had fought for this project and claimed that only 41 acres of forest land would be acquired. He also added that of the 1,900 hectares of land being acquired, 400 hectares belong to the government. He assured that the project would take the form of a tunnel when it passes through forest areas.
Mansoor has been arrested in the past, like in April this year, when he tried to meet detained protesters at a marriage hall in Chennai.
The protesters had been detained for staging a protest over the Cauvery water sharing dispute.