He also demanded that the State government fix the onus on who had ordered police to open fire at the protesters in Thoothukudi on May 22.
Chennai: Accusing the government of not being ‘tolerant’ to protests, Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram has alleged that people are living in trepidation of repressive measures. Such qualms, he claimed had never prevailed during the decade of UPA rule in the country.
He also demanded that the State government fix the onus on who had ordered the police to open fire at the protesters in Thoothukudi on May 22.
“There were protests and demonstrations on various issues during the ten years of the Congress-led UPA regime and people had the right to protest or criticise the government then but now protesters are shot dead. People are living in fear now,” he said, condemning the Thoothukudi firing incident during the people’s rally demanding closure of the Sterlite plant.
Speaking at a Congress rally in Karaikudi on Saturday night he said the government ought to fix responsibility on those who had ordered the police to open fire at the protesters.
“There are rules to be followed for police while handling protesters. Police should shoot below the knees but in Thoothukudi some of those killed had been shot in the chest. Three poor tahsildars have been transferred claiming they had ordered the police to open fire during the anti-Sterlite protest rally,” the former Union Minister said and asked if the transfer of the tahsildars the real solution. “Do not the district police or district collector, DIG or the Minister have any responsibility,” he asked.
Mr. Chidambaram alleged that minorities and Dalits lived in fear and people could not even move around freely or start a business of their choice, due to the dominance of right-wing forces.
The economic scenario too was far from satisfactory. The Indian economy was now running on a ‘single wheel’ after tyres of three wheels - export growth, bank loans for industries and industrial growth - were punctured, he alleged. He pointed out that the nation’s economic growth, which was 8.2 % in 2015-16, declined to 6.7 % in 2017-18.