Government orders inquiry into lathicharge

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Chennai, Aug 18: Government has ordered a judicial inquiry into police lathicharge at Rettanai Village in Villupuram District of the state after farmers staged a road roko demanding full payment of wages under the Nationl Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), on Saurday, Aug 16.

Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who ordered an enquiry by the Divisional Magistrate and Tindivanam Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), sanctioned a solatium of Rs 50,000 from the Chief Minister's General Relief Fund, to a boy who was injured in the incident, Villupuram District Collector R Palanisamy said in release.

Stating that further action would be taken based on the inquiry report, Mr Palanisamy appealed to people of Rettanai Village to maintain peace.

He said soon after coming to know of the incident, the Chief Minister had deputed Union Minister of State for Finance K Venkatapathy and Minister for Higher Education K Ponmudi to Rettanai to find out the truth.

Accompanied by him and District Superintendent of Police A Amalraj, the two Ministers visited the village and submitted a report to the Chief Minister, after inquiring into the incident.

After getting the report, the Chief Minister ordered a inquiry, Mr Palanisamy said.

At least five people and three policemen were injured when police had resorted to lathicharge to disperse the agitators who were holding a road roko seeking full payment of wages.

Police had said trouble began when some farmers and DYFI volunteers staged a road roko demanding payment of Rs 80 as mandated under the NREGS instead of the Rs 40 they were given presently.

Meanwhile, CPI State Secretary D Pandian condemned the incident, stating without any provocation, the police had resorted to lathicharge and firing, injuring many, including women.

Police had registered cases against more than 500 people in the village, he claimed and warned against using the police to resolve the issue.

UNI

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