Makkal Neethi Maiam founder-president Kamal Haasan Saturday condemned the detention of Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav near Tiruvannamalai when he was on his way to express solidarity with farmers protesting against the proposed Salem-Chennai Expressway project.
Kamal Haasan called Yogendra Yadav 'brother' and said "a politician from a different state" had come to learn about the opinion of the farmers of our state".
"This act is to be criticised and condemned, as it prevents opinions from being shared and is an act of dictatorship," Mr Haasan said in a statement.
People should have the freedom to express their views without fear, the actor-turned-politician added.
The Swaraj Abhiyan leader tweeted that he was "manhandled" and pushed into a police van.
"We came on the invitation of Movement Against 8Lane Way. We were prevented from going to meet farmers, phones were snatched, we were roughed up and pushed into the police van. Firsthand experience of police state in TN," he said.
Mr Yadav said he had come here for fact-finding on land acquisition when he was stopped from proceeding.
The Rs 10,000-crore eight-lane expressway connecting Salem with Chennai is being opposed by a section of farmers and land owners who do not want to part with their land.
The project, a Central government initiative being implemented by the Tamil Nadu government, aims to bring down the travel time between Salem and Chennai.
The state government has been insisting that it would also help address the issue of fatal accidents on this stretch, besides saving on fuel and vehicular wear and tear.