- M. Manikandan
- BBC Tamil
The police are engaged in intensive surveillance work in the rural areas where the airport is located adjacent to Paranthoor in Kanchipuram district.
Barricades are erected here and there on the main road connecting the villages. Villagers say this has scared them.
People complain that the police are doing unnecessary surveillance in their area and the media is preventing many people from coming. But the district administration says that the vigilance is to maintain law and order and prevent the infiltration of anti-social elements.
Villagers are registering their protest against the government alleging that their farmlands, houses, temples, schools and water bodies are being destroyed for the Paranthur airport.
People have been protesting for more than 60 days in Ekanapuram village, which is supposed to be acquired for the airport. The people here say that despite appealing to the district collector and ministers, nothing has happened in their favour.
How is the police surveillance?
At Parantur, where the airport is thought to be located, police speed bumps have been set up at various places. There are policemen in uniform and plain clothes on duty. There is police surveillance from Maduramangalam road junction to Parantur.
Everywhere BBC news crews went to collect news, they were followed by plainclothes policemen. They stopped the vehicle at a place and asked questions as to who, why are you here and where is your identity card.
When asked what the raid was for, a guard said, “It’s a routine raid. It’s an order from the top.”
When the BBC team met and interviewed some people in Nelwai village, they were surrounded by four or five policemen. The guards recorded the footage and interviews on their cell phones.
A resident of Neivai village told BBC Tamil that he felt scared and could not be interviewed because he was surrounded by guards. Nelvai is one of the villages considered to be fully acquired for Parantur airport works.
Constables are also engaged in vigilance in Ekanapuram village. “Whoever comes to collect news, the police follow them. They check identity cards. People from YouTube channels are not allowed into the town,” a resident of Ekanapuram village told BBC Tamil.
A woman from Ekanapuram said, “In order to enter our town, we have to show identity cards like Aadhaar. Not only outside the town but also in the town, the policemen are monitoring us on the streets. This surveillance should be removed.”
“Prohibition on Merger”
Recently, when he tried to go to participate in the protest in Ekanapuram village, Tamil Nadu All Farmers Unions Coordinating Committee Chairman P.R. Pandian was stopped at Chengalpattu district border.
Speaking to BBC Tamil about this, he said, “The police are preventing the people of 13 villages from coming together to fight. Earlier, when we tried to go to Ekanapuram village, the police stopped us two kilometers away. If the water bodies are not affected as the government says, why are we being prohibited from entering the town?”
Similarly, a person from a Chennai-based organization told BBC Tamil that he was indirectly barred from visiting the village.
The Marxist State Secretary K. Balakrishnan, who had issued a statement on this issue recently, said, “Setting up police camps in villages and blocking people’s daily activities and threatening them will bring disrepute to the government.”
When he spoke to BBC Tamil about this, he said, “Projects should be executed only with the consent of the people. It is not right to do without meeting the people.”
What does the district administration say?
Kanchipuram District Superintendent of Police M. regarding the monitoring of Parantur and its surrounding villagers, media persons, leaders etc. When asked Sudhakar, he said, “This step has been taken to protect law and order. I am also inspecting these areas directly. We have advised the policemen not to stand near them when people are talking to the media.”
He also said that due to the vigilance of the police, petty crimes have reduced.
Kanchipuram District Collector M. said that now the number of police is less than before. Aarti said, “We have taken such measures to prevent any anti-social elements from taking advantage of the situation to enter.”
“People are innocent. Some organizations are trying to incite them. When people come forward to talk to the government and the situation normalizes, the police presence will be reduced.” District Collector said.
“The district administration does not always want to interfere with freedom of expression. People have the right to speak what they want. In the name of media, some non-media enter the towns and try to incite people. Police are stationed here and there to monitor it. This arrangement is to prevent any incidents like Kallakurichi from happening,” he said. said.
Parantur Airport background
Two months ago, the central government approved the construction of an airport at Parantur, about 65 km from Chennai. “Implementation of the new airport project at Barandur is a stepping stone to the development of our state. It is another milestone in the journey towards achieving the lofty goal of making Tamil Nadu a one trillion (one lakh crore) dollar economy,” said Chief Minister M. K. Stalin.
It has been revealed that more than 4,500 acres of land will be acquired out of 13 villages adjacent to Panathur for the airport and 4 villages will be completely acquired. This includes settlements, water bodies, agricultural land etc. The government has announced that it will give three and a half times the compensation for land and residences.
A protest has been going on for more than 60 days in Ekanapuram village against this project. Women and children are also participating in this. “We will not leave the village,” say people participating in the protest.
BBC Tamil on Social Media: