Hundreds of train commuters on the Tambaram-Chennai Beach section were stranded on Sunday for over an hour as lawyers squatted on train tracks between St. Thomas Mount and Guindy Railway Stations.

Lawyers staged similar protests in Mogappair west and on Cathedral Road also. The agitators, who had come to the city from various parts of the State ahead of the All India Bar Examination, were protesting against it.

The nation-wide open-book objective-type qualifying test was held in English and several regional languages across the country. In Chennai, 800 lawyers, who had passed out of law colleges in 2009-10 were required to appear for the examination, which would test their ability to practise law. This is the first time such an examination is being held across the country.

The examination was being held at AJS Nidhi Higher Secondary School in Alandur, Stella Maris College on Cathedral Road and Mar Gregorios College in Mogappair.

Soon after the examination began, disgruntled candidates stormed out of the exam venue, assembled on the railway tracks and roads outside. The protestors, including women, raised slogans against the move to introduce the examination. Police cordoned off a portion of the busy Cathedral Road, cutting off vehicle movement. Personnel from Chennai Suburban Police, Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force tried to disperse the protestors but to no avail.

It was irate train commuters, who bore the brunt of the protest which lasted from noon till around 1.15 p.m., who succeeded in getting the protestors off the track.

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012