The state-wide bandh across Tamil Nadu was called by pro-Eelam outfits to demand India to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.
Normal life remained unaffected as the state-wide bandh called by pro-Eelam outfits evoked partial response on Tuesday. While there was no impact on essential services and public transport, some train services were affected after protesters resorted to rail-roko agitations in Chennai, Madurai and other places. Government offices, schools, colleges, banks and other industries functioned as usual though some traders, particularly in Coimbatore, downed shutters in support of the agitation, police sources said.
The bandh backed by a few political parties, including the Marulamarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, was to demand India to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka. Accusing Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa of gross human rights violations and war crimes, the protesters also demanded that the island nation be suspended from Commonwealth.
Heightened security arrangements were in place across Tamil Nadu. Protesters mainly targeted suburban trains. Despite heavy security arrangements, they managed to enter the railway station premises and blocked trains across the State. Hundreds of slogan-shouting activists were arrested. In Madurai cadres led by MDMK secretary Vaiko blocked the Madurai-Chennai Vaigai Superfast Express.
The Chennai-Coimbatore Kovai Express, Chennai-Ahmedabad Navajeevan Express and Chennai-Howrah Coromandel Express trains suffered detention for a few minutes due to the agitations, police sources added.
Inputs from correspondents from Coimbatore and Tirupur:
Rail blockades at nearly a dozen places since morning, closure of shops to almost 75 per cent marked the bandh call given by outfits opposed to India’s participation in Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in mid-November.
Several commercial areas witnessed closure of shops ranging from 50 per cent to 90 per cent except for mobile phone recharge outlets and bakeries/tea stalls.
In Coimbatore City, police removed more than 450 activists of MDMK, Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi, Indu Makkal Katchi and a host of other political parties. Frayed tempers and heated exchanges took place between the activists and police personnel. In Tirupur the knitwear units functioned as usual.
About 20 cadres attached to Marumalarchi Dravida Munetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) were arrested by the Police when they tried to resort to train blockade at the Namakkal Railway Station on Tuesday morning.
In Erode Member of Parliament A. Ganesha Moorthy of MDMK was among 120 members of various pro-Tamil Eelam organisations arrested for attempting to block trains at the Erode Railway Station.
Incidents of rail blockade by the pro-Eelam outfits opposed to India’s participation in CHOGM kept the police on their toes.