Ankit Sharma Sharma
Green tea Addict | A Tree Hugger | Born for Change
An elderly auto driver was manhandled and allegedly assaulted by BJP members on Sunday, September 16 when he tried to ask a question about rising fuel prices to Tamil Nadu State party president Tamilisai Soundararajan, in Saidapet, Chennai. In the video of the incident, Tamilisai can be seen talking to reporters after taking part in a Ganesh Chaturthi event at New Colony, Saidapet. As per a Hindustan Times report, a grey-haired man in khaki appeared from behind and asked her, “Sister, why the fuel prices are increasing regularly?”
From the video, it is apparent that Tamilisai heard the man’s question. However, instead of replying she continued to pose for the cameras. The party worker standing right behind Tamilisai elbowed the man and pushed him back while a few others grabbed a hold of the man by his torso and hair and allegedly assaulted him. In the foreground, Soundararajan continued smiling and posing for the cameras.
#WATCH Saidapet(Chennai): BJP leader V Kalidass pushes and hits an auto rickshaw driver who asked Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundararajan about petrol price hike (16.9.18) pic.twitter.com/5SRH60sb23
— ANI (@ANI) September 17, 2018
The elderly man was later identified as Kathir, an auto driver. He told The News Minute that as an auto driver, the hike in fuel prices affects his life to a great extent, it is difficult for him to make ends meet now. He wanted to ask the reason behind the same to the party president when she was talking about government’s concern for people, and “good deeds of the government”. Kathir also told that his face is swollen after being mauled by the party workers.
“Fuel costs are rising on a daily basis. If we fill our tanks for Rs 100, then we are paid the same for a ride, and we are not able to make it back. We are filling our tank but not making any money with our labour. We can put food on the table every day only because I drive an auto. And the festival season is coming up, so we have to drive extra to be able to afford new clothes,” he said while speaking to The News Minute.
“I don’t want to make it a big deal. I felt angry in that instance so as an auto-driver part of the working class, I asked the question. Only we know how much it hurts,” said Kathir.
He added, “I just expressed my stress due to the increasing fuel prices. I did not have any intention to hurt the BJP leader. However, they beat me up.”
Reportedly, Soundararajan denied the assault. “BJP workers did not assault him. If anyone attacked him, it is condemnable,” she said.
As on September 18, the Petrol price in Chennai is Rs 85.41/litre whereas Diesel is Rs 78.10 per litre.
If the common citizen is not allowed to approach a representative of the ruling party about genuine problems, then what kind of representative democracy is this? An elderly man who works hard to make ends meet was publicly manhandled and reportedly, the BJP workers and state party president deny the assault and even have the audacity to claim that the man was drunk.
The central government is facing criticism all over the country for the hike in fuel prices. The Congress party had called for Bharat bandh on September 10, to protest against the same. Ramdas Athawale, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice, apologised for his comment on the situation on Sunday. He had commented earlier that the rise in petrol and diesel prices does not bother him as he is a Minister. Clarifying his comment, he said in a statement that a journalist asked him if he has a problem with the rising prices of petrol and diesel. In his reply, he said as he is being provided government vehicles, he has no problem with the price rise. He added that he didn’t mean to insult anyone by saying that ordinary citizens face issues, and prices should be reduced.
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