As Thoothukudi, the port town in Southern Tamil Nadu, limps back to normalcy after three days, police on Friday launched a crackdown of sorts to identify protestors, who took part on Tuesday's siege on Collectorate, people by checking their smartphones for the photos and videos of the protest.
Four days after the police firing on anti-Sterlite protestors killing 13 people, some of the residents of Thoothukudi town stepped out of their house to resume their daily activities with the opening of some shops and resumption of bus services with heavy police protection to prevent any untoward incidents. The city roads that remained deserted for the past three days saw thin vehicular movement.
In a crackdown of sorts on anti-Sterlite protestors, police engaged in vehicular checks in various part of the city and detained several persons, mostly youngsters, after checking their smartphones for video and photographs of Tuesday's protest. A police officer said that it was the process to arrest those indulged in unlawful activities on Tuesday.
"We are not detaining randomly but only those took part in the rally and the siege of the collectorate. We are checking their smartphones for the photos and the videos of the protest shot in their mobile. Only those are detained for questioning. If their involvement in the Tuesday's protest was confirmed we will arrest them," the officer said. When asked how would they identify the protestors with the photos and videos of protest, the police officer said only those who have original photos and videos taken on their smartphones would be detained first and then based on questioning they would be arrested.
Thoothukudi SP R Murali dismissed the detention as a routine exercise to identify the protestors involved in the violence and arson. "The district is largely peaceful with no significant incidents of violence reported till Friday afternoon. The situation is started returning to normalcy," he told DNA.
At Anna Nagar, the police deployed three drones to monitor the situation in the locality which has been witnessing stray incidents of violence since Tuesday.
The grocery, vegetable and other shops opened in many parts of the city as people thronged to buy the essentials. "Almost 40 to 50% of the shops opened on Friday. We hope rest of the shops too would be opened by the evening. Compared to the last three days, the district is started returning to normalcy almost. The people resuming their daily activities is an indication of returning to normalcy. The government buses have started operation in the district. At present, we are operating 10 buses to Tirunelveli and five buses to Madurai. The service will be stepped up," Collector Sandeep Nanduri said.
On Thursday night, Thoothukudi district administration extended the prohibitory orders till Sunday.