Tamil Nadu police book eight people under non-bailable sections — for protesting against power outages

The police have summoned the 8 people who have been booked to appear before them and provide an explanation on 7 June.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Jun 07, 2023 | 11:27 AMUpdatedJun 07, 2023 | 11:27 AM

Tamil Nadu police book eight people under non-bailable sections — for protesting against power outages

The Tirunelveli police in Tamil Nadu have registered a case under non-bailable sections against eight people, including two women — for protesting against frequent power outages!

The eight accused were part of a large number of people from Melakarai, who protested against the frequent power outages, which often went on for hours, in their area since 1 May.

The people claimed that their repeated requests to the Electricity Board to rectify the problem, caused by a faulty transformer, went unheard, forcing them out on the streets in protest.

They pointed out the plight of the elderly and children during the hot summer days.

On 15 May, the faulty transformer finally broke down around 8 pm, and hundreds of infuriated residents laid siege to the road at Melakarai Junction on the Thachanallur-Madurai highway from 11.45 pm.

On being informed of the public anger spilling onto the road, the Thachanallur police arrived at the scene.

So did the Electricity Board officials, who initiated compromise talks in police presence. The residents withdrew from the protest and went back to their homes after the officials assured them the problem would be fixed.

This time, the Electricity Board took the matter seriously. It replaced the transformer within hours and restored the power supply.

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Khakhi shocker

The residents were shocked the next day when the police booked eight of them on a complaint by a Special Sub-Inspector (SSI), E Ganesan. A Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) functionary, B Murugan Kanna, was also among the accused.

The SSI said he was on patrol duty the previous night when he came across people assembled unlawfully on the road and blocking vehicular traffic. When he approached them, the eight people hurled abuses at him, besides threatening him.

They were booked under Sections 147 (rioting), 294(b) (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 506(1) (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

An offence committed under Section 353 is non-bailable.

Sources said the eight people named in the case have been told to appear before the police on Wednesday, 7 June.

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Bid to smoke the peace pipe

Meanwhile, a protester told South First that the police were trying to arrive at a compromise after the accused decided to move a court seeking anticipatory bail and also petition the district collector.

“After getting to know of the plan, the police came for a peace talk and asked us not to move the anticipatory bail application. They promised to drop the case as ‘Mistake of Facts’. The police also reportedly asked only the prime accused, Murugan Kanna, to appear before them.

Speaking to South First, Kanna said that the people were demonstrating peacefully and after the assurance of the officials, they dispersed.

“But the police filed an FIR against eight people the next day. Hundreds of people protested the power outage, but the FIR is against only eight Scheduled Caste people.”

He further said that people had been suffering frequent power disruptions for the previous 15 days, and the transformer blast terrified them. It made them protest, seeking a solution, he said.

Kanna also denied abusing or threatening or preventing any police officer from discharging his duty.

“The police had videographed the entire protest. They filed the case to deter the public from protesting,” he added.