An elderly auto rickshaw driver was assaulted by Bharatiya Janata Party workers after he questioned Tamilisai Soundararajan, BJP's party president in Tamil Nadu, about the record high fuel prices in the state.
At a public event in Chennai on Sunday night, Kathir, the auto driver, asked, "Sister, why the fuel prices are increasing regularly?"
IANS reported that Soundararajan did not respond and continued speaking to the media.
Before he could even complete the question, BJP workers pulled him by the hair and dragged him away, The Times of India reported. In fact, in a video posted by ANI, Soundararajan is seen smiling as the auto rickshaw driver is dragged away.
"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," Kathir said, IANS reported.
Later, Kathir spoke of the problems confronting auto drivers due to the hike in fuel prices. "To run a family, at least 500 is needed per day. But we re not able to earn so much due to the present scenario. We are paying 150 as rent for the auto and filling fuel for 300 per day. It is not sufficient to run a family," he said, according to the TOI report.
Petrol in Chennai is being sold at Rs. 84.01 per liter today and the cost of diesel is 78.10 per litre.
ANI put out a video which showed BJP leader V Kalidass pushing and hitting the auto rickshaw.
Earlier this week, Ramdas Athawale, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment in the Modi government, was widely ridiculed for saying that he was not hurt by the fuel price rise. "I am not bothered as I am a minister and I get free fuel. If I was not a minister then yes, I would have been troubled with the increase in fuel price," he said.
Athawale has apologized for his remarks.