People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 43

October 27, 2013






Students, Youth Organise Anti-Modi Protest


S P Rajendran


HOURS before the Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi, landed in the city of Chennai on October 18, hundreds of students and youth, including many women, were taken into police custody for protesting against the visit. While the severe police lathicharge injured several agitators, the detained protesters were taken to the Community Hall in Chintadripet and not released till 10 p m.


The protest action in the city, involving over 300 persons, was organised by the Tamilnadu state units of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Students Federation of India (SFI) and All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).


The protesters also lambasted Modi's visit to an educational institution. He was in the city to deliver a lecture organised by the Palkhivala Foundation, a private entity, at the Centenary Auditorium in the University of Madras.


The protesters first gathered near Tarapore towers on Anna Salai around 10 a m, and raised slogans against Modi’s communal credentials and development model.  “Mr Modi is a threat to our democratic and secular values,” said L Shanmugasundaram, vice president of the state unit of DYFI. “During such times as these, when our state is fraught with caste wars, someone like him can only polarise our society further,” he added. “It is a dangerous thing that the state has started welcoming leaders who have not been sincere about the welfare of women,” an AIDWA cadre said.


Around 11 a m, when the protest demonstration was about to end, the activists and policemen got into a scuffle, when the police resorted to lathicharge. “There were more policemen than protesters. They confined us to a small area and when we finished our slogan shouting, they said they wanted to arrest us. We resisted this and sat down on the ground, and the police began to beat us,” said a protester. The protesters were detained and told that they could leave only when Narendra Modi had left the city.


The protesters said eight members of the SFI, DYFI and AIDWA had sustained injuries and two of them had to be taken to a hospital. “It was only after much coaxing that the police agreed to take the injured people to the hospital,” said J Rajmohan, state secretary of the SFI.


Narendra Modi landed in the city around 3 p m and headed for the BJP office in T Nagar. Traffic was briefly disrupted along the convoy’s route. Most of the roads in T Nagar, including the South Boag Road, Melony Road and Sivaji Ganesan Road, were cordoned off at several places. Rope barricades were used to prevent people from coming anywhere close to the convoy as it passed though T Nagar at around 3 30 p m.


Many areas, including the GST Road and parts of Anna Salai at Saidapet and Nandanam, suffered choked roads for close to 30 minutes in the evening. Thousands of police personnel, including a large number of them in plainclothes, were deployed in different areas, and the checking of vehicles went on till about 8 p m.