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“DMK not against protests by trade unions”

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: If trade union protests are meant to cause damage to properties, no peace loving person will support the protests, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said on Thursday.

The Chief Minister made these remarks in the Assembly in the wake of allegations made by CPI (M) whip S.K. Mahendran that CITU leader A. Soundararajan and workers of the Foxconn unit were arrested for organising protests in support of their demand for trade union rights. “The members of the House should understand that neither the DMK nor its allies are against protests by trade unions. But more than 40 cars have been damaged in the protest. If protests are to damage cars, no peace loving person in the country will support them,” he said.

Denies allegations

The Chief Minister also denied the allegations that Mr Soundararajan and 11 others were handcuffed when they were taken to court.

“I was shocked when I heard the news that he was handcuffed. I immediately asked for details and I was told that he was not handcuffed. Later, when he and other leaders called on me, I explained the issue to them. They did not contradict my argument,” the Chief Minister said.

Later responding to CPI (M) leader in the House K. Balabharathi, the Chief Minister said he never defended price rise on the ground that the buying capacity of the people had improved. “I don't toe the line of the Centre that people have the buying capacity,” he said.

Mr. Karunanidhi said that price rise had not affected the people of Tamil Nadu because the government was selling 10 condiments at cheaper rates through fair price shops along with rice, toor dhal, oil and other items.

Earlier, Labour Minister T.M. Anbrasan said the government would take a decision on trade union in multinational companies after studying the situation in West Bengal and Maharashtra, the two States that had legislation for the purpose.

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