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: Residents of a village in this district continued their protest against ONGC's exploration work, demanding the release of 10 persons arrested in connection with violence on June 30. People belonging to Kathiramangalam village continued their "sitting agitation" at Ayyanar temple premises for a fourth day today, police said. They cooked food using firewood and demanded that the 10 persons arrested for taking part in an agitation against ONGC were released by the police. "It is unfortunate that both the central and state governments are indifferent to our agitation.
We are continuing (the protest) in a bid to protect the livelihood of people and fertility of the soil," the residents said. Meanwhile, A Marx, chairperson of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations, visited Kathiramangalam and met the people. "The confederation will prepare a report on what has happened in the village and submit it to the state and central governments. If necessary we will also go to court," he said. Police had stepped up security in the village as a group of students had announced that they would take part in the agitation. However, they did not turn up, police said. The villagers have been up in arms against the exploration work by ONGC and a protest by them had turned violent on June 30, leading to use of "minimum force" by police, which was criticised by opposition parties. Also, shops remained shut for several days in the village to express solidarity with the protesting locals.