SIPCOT Protest: Tamil Nadu CM revokes Goondas Act against six farmers

The family members of six out of seven detained farmers had requested to drop the charges under Goondas Act, said a statement from the office of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin
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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has issued a directive to revoke the detention of six farmers under the Goondas Act, on November 17. The order was issued after many civil societies and activists condemned the state’s action towards the farmers who conducted peaceful sit-in protests against the land acquisition for the expansion of the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) in Melma village of Cheyyar in Tiruvannamalai district. 

Since July this year, Pachaiyappan, Coordinator of the Melma SIPCOT Vivasaigal Ethirppu Iyakkam had been staging a sit-in protest with farmers in Melma village. Seven of the 20 farmers were arrested by Tiruvannamalai police on November 4 and charged with provisions under the Goondas Act.

Read: TN police book 7 farmers under Goondas Act for protesting SIPCOT land acquisition  

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According to the CM’s statement, the decision to revoke provisions of the Goondas Act was taken following representations from family members of six farmers Pachaiyappan, Devan, Chozhan, Thirumal, Masilamani, and Bakkiyaraj. The statement said the family members of detained farmers had met Cheyyar MLA O Jothi and pleaded for their release stating that they had participated in the protests after being instigated by outsiders and that they had promised not to indulge in such activities in the future. Later, the pleas were brought to the notice of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister through Minister of Public Works EV Velu. 

Stalin in his statement said Tiruvannamalai district did not have industries to generate employment. Considering the plight of unemployment in the region, SIPCOT industrial parks are being developed here. The third 3,174-acre SIPCOT project is to be implemented in Melma and seven neighbouring villages. After the notification was issued for 1200 acres, 239 landowners opposed the project while 1642 landowners agreed to it. 

CM’s statement said 20 persons had staged continuous protests against the acquisition from July 2 this year. They were arrested and booked under various sections as they obstructed a public servant from discharging their duties, disrupted public order by frequent road rokos, prevented landowners who volunteered to sell their plots to the government, and damaged public assets, the statement said adding that seven of them were detained under the Goondas Act based on recomendations by the district SP.

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