Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami said that the state has not curbed freedom of speech and that it has the highest number of protests in the country.
Responding to DMK leader MK Stalin, he said that security cover was provided to whoever wanted to protest and that nobody was stopped from staging a protest to express their opposition.
MK Stalin had earlier slammed the TN government for the increase in the number of arrests and refusal to grant permission to hold public meetings to oppose the Chennai-Salem green highway, reported the Times of India.
He said that people must be allowed to express their opinions freely since the project was primarily for their welfare.
He also blamed the state for using police to curb the voices of dissent, referring to the arrests made in connection with the project.
Stalin mentioned that the state government had refused permission to PMK leader Dr Anbumani Ramadoss to hold a public meeting in Dharmapuri district in relation to the highway project, reported The New Indian Express. He also referred to the denial of permission for Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) to conduct a public meeting, as per reports.
The CM, in response, said that law and order must be taken into consideration when giving permissions to conduct public meetings. “Only Amma’s government allows people to enjoy free speech,” he said.
Actor Mansoor Ali Khan, social activist Piyush Manush, student-activist Valarmathi, CPM MLA Balabharathi, Aam Aadmi Party leader Vaseegaran and a few journalists were arrested in the past few weeks for voicing their opposition to the Chennai-Salem green highway.