In a shocking instance of abuse of power, the Tiruppur Additional Superintendent of Police Pandiarajan was seen slapping a woman protester during an anti-TASMAC agitation.
Update: The state government has told the Madras High Court that an investigation has been launched into the actions of the Additional Deputy Superintendent of police Pandiarajan. The Advocate General also told the court that the protesters threw stones at the police which resulted in injuries among the policemen.
The video of the assault, played by Puthiya Thalaimurai, shows the police officer pushing the woman with his lathi, and then slapping her. The incident happened as women were marching on the road in Samalapuram, against a liquor shop being relocated to the area.
The video shows a bunch of women and children marching peacefully on the street, while some police officials beat their lathis near their feet. Suddenly, Pandiarajan decides to push one of the women - completely unprovoked - and slaps her, even as other women gather around her to stop him.
Residents allege that they were given no prior warning ahead of the 'violent assault' against them.
Residents had taken to the streets on Tuesday to protests against the Government's move to shift a TASMAC from the highway to their area. When Sulur MLA R Kanagaraj's car passed through the area during these demonstrations, they attempted to block the vehicle. They allegedly wanted to confront the MLA about the administration's lack of response to their opposition to the outlet. Following this, the MLA joined the protesters to express his support and police presence was increased to tighten security.
Despite the resulting dialogue between the administration, police and residents, the protests did not stop. When the assurances provided failed to end the agitation, the police then lathi charged the protesters, including women. Angry agitators threw stones at the police vehicles in retaliation. The MLA who was present at the venue, left before the lathi charge began.
One of the protesters at the venue sustained heavy injuries to his head and has been rushed to the Government hospital.
This is not the first time that residents have risen in protests against TASMAC outlets. Since the Supreme Court banned liquor outlets on national and state highways on April 1, there has been widespread opposition to moving these shops to residential areas.
On April 4, some residents in Sulur beat up a cop who intervened in their protests against a liquor shop. In Lakshmipuram in Tiruvallur district, women sat in protest earlier this month against a liquor shop located near a school.They alleged that the ban had caused tipplers from Ponneri, where liquor outlets were closed, to flood their area, creating a public nuisance.