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`Centre must take suitable action'

By Our Staff Reporter

VELLORE Nov. 12. Hundreds of workers and functionaries belonging to Opposition parties formed a one-and-a-half km human chain from the Makkan junction to the TTD Information Centre junction here today as part of a Statewide protest against the Tamil Nadu Assembly sentencing five members of The Hindu and the editor of Murasoli to 15 days imprisonment and the DMK MLA, Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, to 30 days imprisonment for a `breach of privilege'.

Durai Murugan, Deputy Opposition leader and the former Minister, presided, while the Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, N.T.Shanmugam (PMK), addressed a protest meeting.

Mr. Shanmugam said he hoped that the Prime Minister, A.B.Vajpayee, who had been apprised by an all-party delegation from Tamil Nadu of the Assembly action and the subsequent developments, would take "suitable action" after obtaining a report from the Governor.

Mr. Durai Murugan said that not only the Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, but political parties across the country condemned the Assembly action.

C. Gnanasekharan, Vellore MLA (Congress), said the Speaker, K. Kalimuthu, abruptly put to resolution the privilege motion against the journalists and Mr. Ilamvazhuthi on November 7 even though the subject was not on the day's agenda. The MLAs would take three days to go through the report of the House Privilege Committee (which was distributed to them), based on which the sentence was passed. Despite a suggestion that the issue be taken up in the next session, the Speaker made the announcement. He said The Hindu had not faced such "atrocities" even during the British regime. "The day when the Prime Minister dismissed the AIADMK Government by invoking Article 356 would be an auspicious day."

P. Shanmugam, Vellore district DMK secretary; V.N.Kannan (Congress); K.R.Sundaram (CPI-M); Govindarajan (CPI); Vasur Natarajan (MDMK); Venkatesan (PMK); C.S.Vijayaraghavan (Congress Jananayaka Peravai); Chittaranjan (Bharatiya Republican Party) and Sunny Bose (DPI) spoke.

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