Police chase away those trying to force traders to close shops
Road blockades, demonstrations and fast besides an attempt to stage rail roko marked the strike call given by the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) urging India to support the resolution moved by US before the United Nations Human Rights session at Geneva.
The strike passed off peacefully without even any untoward incident across the city and district. Activists who went around forcing closure of shops were chased away by the police.
Public transportation remained unaffected with TNSTC reporting near normal operations. In some pockets of the city, shops remained closed till afternoon, especially in DB Road, Ganapathy and some other pockets of the city.
While many of the shops remained closed in the morning, as the day progressed, shop keepers started opening the shops, bringing in near normal life.
TESO supporters especially the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) staged demonstrations and road blockades at 12 places in the city and over 600 people were removed by the police and released in the evening.
Former Deputy Mayor N. Karthik led the agitation at Peelamedu, while the DMK’s city unit secretary Veeragopal and former MP led the same at Gandhipuram.
Former Minister and District Secretary of the Party Pongalur N. Palanisamy took out a procession from the party office and headed for a rail roko at North Coimbatore Junction but the protesters were removed by the police.
In Coimbatore Rural District, as many as 1,028 persons were removed for staging demonstrations and resorting to road blocks at 25 places including Thudialur, Kavundampalayam, Narashimanaickenpalayam, Pollachi, Annur, Veerapandi pirivu, Perur, Thondamuthur and Devarayapuram. All were released in the evening.
Six students of the Government Arts College who commenced a fast on Monday inside the college, on Tuesday joined their 20 counterparts from Government Law College — Marudhamalai who also began a fast on Monday at the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) party office on VKK Menon Road in the City.
Students urged the UN to support the demand for a separate Eelam, exhorted India to snap political, economical and defence ties with the island nation, permanently ban the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa into India, and conduct an independent inquiry into the alleged war crimes and rights violations. There were several other demands.
A large number of micro industries in Coimbatore downed shutters on Tuesday to participate in the one-day strike called by the Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation.
President of Coimbatore and Tirupur District Micro and Cottage Entrepreneurs’ Association S. Ravikumar said that industries in areas such as Ganapathy, Rathinapuri, Peelamedu, Sulur, Saravanampatti, and Thudiyalur gave full support to the strike.
About 70 per cent of micro industries in Coimbatore had participated, resulting in production loss of nearly Rs. 35 crore, he said.
Our Tirupur Staff Reporter adds:
The general strike evoked partial response in Tirupur district. Seven persons were arrested on charges of forcibly trying to close some of the shops near Old Bus Stand.
A group of people damaged the showcase and glass jars in a tea stall at Avinashipalayam to express their anger against the opening of the shop despite the strike call. The police later arrested four persons in connection with the case.
Except for this, no untoward incidents were reported from any part of the district.
In Tirupur city and its immediate suburbs, the majority of the shops were opened in the morning till around 10 a.m.
After that, some groups of people who criss-crossed the areas on motorbikes and in auto rickshaws put pressure on traders in many places to down shutters. Following that, almost 90 per cent of the shops were closed.
The Tirupur North police and patrol teams managed to intercept one such group of around 20 persons who came on motorcycles and asked the traders on College Road to close their shops. They were let off with a warning. Most of the textile units in Tirupur knitwear cluster functioned.
In all, 840 DMK members were arrested for road blockade agitation held at 13 places in the district in support of the general strike call.
The prominent persons who courted arrest include former Minister M. P. Saminathan and former Tirupur Mayor K. Selvaraj.