Hundreds of students of various colleges took out a procession through the main thoroughfares of the city on Wednesday, demanding Tamil Eelam.

Students — under the banners of Tamileela Viduthalai Maanavar Iyakkam, All College Students, and Mannar Tirumalai Naickar College — raised slogans against Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi.

The students carried banners and placards bearing the photographs of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader Prabhakaran and his son Balachandran, both killed in the war. The students condemned the US-sponsored resolution. They claimed that what happened in Sri Lanka was not mere human rights violations but genocide of the Tamils. The students said that the Indian Government was responsible for the genocide. The agitators also burnt Sri Lankan national flag at few places. There was a skirmish between police officials and the agitators when the police objected to the students using petrol to burn the flags.

Police personnel, led by two Deputy Commissioners of Police, were deployed all along the procession route. Additional police personnel were posted in front of nationalised banks, ATMs, Head Post Office and railway junction. The students demanded that ban on the LTTE must be lifted, Tamil Nadu fishermen must be allowed to carry weapons to protect themselves and that Katchatheevu must be retrieved from Sri Lanka. The protests, which had been peaceful so far, threw vehicular traffic out of gear for the first time on Wednesday as the procession passed through four km of busy roads. Traffic was disrupted for three hours in the city, though the police had diverted vehicles at many places.

The rally began near Tamukkam Ground at 10.30 p.m. Unmindful of the scorching sun, the students took out the procession, raising slogans in small groups till they reached the Kattabomman statue near Periyar bus stand at 1.30 p.m.

Hunger strike

At Anna Nagar, students of various engineering colleges observed a day-long fast, pressing for an independent international probe into the genocide in Sri Lanka.

Members of Social Democratic Party of India were prevented from burning an effigy. However, they staged a road roko at Yanaikkal. VCK cadre were prevented by the police when they tried to lay siege to the Post Office near the Collectorate and railway station.

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