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Southern States - Tamil Nadu-Chennai

Nedumaran held

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI May 8. Nearly 220 persons, including P.Nedumaran, leader of the Tamil Nationalist Movement (TNM), were picked up by the police as a preventive measure in the State when they attempted to stage an agitation of burning copies of the Assembly resolution seeking extradition of the LTTE leader, V. Prabakaran.

Organised under the banner of ``All-Party Committee'', the agitators said that when a solution to the ethnic problem on the island was being attempted at, adoption of the resolution would destroy the peace efforts. The participants announced that copies of the resolution would be burnt in Chennai, Villupuram, Salem, Coimbatore, Thanjavur, Dindigul, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Pudukottai districts.

Nearly 50 persons, including Mr. Nedumaran, were arrested in Chennai. As a matter of precaution, the police picked up the TNM leader from his house at Abhiramapuram and few other leaders from their residences early this morning.

In the city, the agitation was scheduled to be launched in front of the Memorial Hall, Park Town. The participants who came in ones and twos, were picked up as they arrived. Some of them carried handbills, the police said.Notwithstanding a nationwide ban on the LTTE, the demonstrators raised slogans in support of Mr. Prabakaran and ``Tamil Eelam''. They also demanded immediate withdrawal of the resolution.

Despite police presence, one of the participants set fire to what appeared a rolled newspaper. The police immediately pounced on him and put out the fire. He was later put in a police vehicle and taken away.

Those arrested were later released, the police said.

In a press release, the TNM general secretary, Suba.Veerapandian, claimed that about 1,800 persons were arrested. While 800 were picked up early this morning, the others were arrested when they attempted to burn a copy of the resolution.

Condemning the arrest, the MDMK general secretary, Vaiko, demanded the immediate release of Mr. Nedumaran.

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