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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Villagers caned, 20 injured


VILLUPURAM: As many as 20 persons, including policewomen suffered injuries, when police resorted to lathicharge on local residents on Tuesday, who were protesting agai nst the frequent power failure in villages near Puducherry. More than 500 residents of Poothurai, Vaanur, Thiruchitrambalam, Kottakuppam and Auroville had blocked the traffic on the busy East Coast Road at Kottakuppam on Tuesday morning. Residents had been facing serious hardship in the wake of the frequent power cuts for the past few days, affecting agricultural activities in the region. The local residents had lodged complaints with TNEB officials, but the power supply was paralysed in many parts of Cuddalore and Villupuram districts. Dejected over this, the residents assembled in front of the TNEB office in Kottakuppam. The agitators, led by councillors, Velmurugan, Karthik and Saravanan raised slogans against the government. They demanded uninterrupted power supply to the villages. They then squatted on the ECR, blocking vehicular traffic during the rush hours. A large number of women, carrying empty pots also participated in the agitation. Though the police and revenue officials tried to pacify the angry residents, they remained adamant and refused to move from the spot. The agitation created heavy traffic snarl and vehicles were stranded on the road for more than 30 minutes. Police then resorted to a lathicharge to clear the area, but the agitators hurled stones at them and damaged the windscreens of six buses, which were stranded on the highway.Villupuram district SP Amalraj rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. Nearly 20 persons, including SI Amal arasi, were injured. Police detained 10 persons in connection with the incident.

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