While the Chengam police denied such detention, Yogendra Yadav tweeted saying that he was kept in a marriage hall by the police.

Yogendra Yadav detained by TN cops for meeting farmers for Salem-Chennai Green highwayFile Image/PTI
news Salem-Chennai Green Corridor Saturday, September 08, 2018 - 15:08

Yogendra Yadav, the President of Swaraj India and his team members were detained by Tamil Nadu police in Thiruvannamalai. They were in the district for a fact finding exercise on the land acquisition for the Salem-Chennai Green Expressway project.

In a series of tweets, Yogendra Yadav said that he was detained by the police at the Chengam Police Station and that they were manhandled by the policemen. He also tweeted that the Superintendent of Police told him that the detention was due to anticipation of law and order problem because of Yogendra Yadav’s presence.

“TN police has detained me and team in Chengam PS, Thiru Annamalai district. We came on the invitation of Movement Against 8Lane Way. We were prevented from going to meet farmers, phones snatched, manhandled and pushed into police van. First-hand experience of police state in TN!,” said the first tweet in the series.

He also said that 49 farmers had also been detained by the police for meeting and expressing interest to meet him.

“It's 4 hours now, we are still locked inside this marriage hall. No formal order. Not even oral information about whether we are under detention or arrest. 9 Farmers who met me this morning detained. Another 40 farmers waiting to meet me also detained. Rule of law? Or police Raj?” he asked.

He said that he had spoken to the District Collector of Thiruvannamalai, KS Kandasamy, about the complaints of police excesses in the acquisition of land for the project and that he was detained minutes after that phone call with the Collector.

The tweet said, “I had spoken to Mr Kandasamy, Collector, Thiru Annamalai about acquisition and complains of police excesses for 8 lane way. He completely denied any police interference. Within minutes of the phone call police detained us.”

His series of tweets also included news reports on the police harassing land owners who speak up against the project.

“Status of acquisition process: Notice issued, objections invited, govt yet to settle objections. So, no final decision on acquisition yet. Still police and administration is pressuring farmers to accept, refusing to allow gram sabha resolutions and harassing anyone who protests,” said another tweet.

Speaking to TNM, Balakrishnan, the State Convenor of Swaraj Abhiyan said, "We came here on the request of the members of Movement against 8lane Way. The motive of the trip was to meet the farmers and listen to their grievances on the project. We are now detained in a marriage hall near Thiruvannamalai and were given no information as to why we have been detained. Only a few minutes back the SP passed on the information that there is an order in place in this region regarding meeting people about this project. Many farmers have also been detained along with us. Yogendra Yadav and one other farmer were pushed into the police vehicle and manhandled while we were brought here."  

While the police officers at Chengam Police Station denied detaining Yogendra Yadav, multiple attempts by TNM to reach the Superintendent of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police and the District Collector for information on the incident failed.

The Tamil Nadu police have been facing flak from multiple quarters for detaining and arresting anybody who speaks against the Salem-Chennai Green Corridor. Activist Piyush Manush, student activist Valarmathi, actor Mansoor Ali Khan were all arrested by the police for opposing the project.

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