The general strike called by the Opposition parties to highlight the spiralling prices of essential commodities “due to the wrong economic policies of Congerss-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre” evoked partial response in Tamil Nadu.
The impact of the general strike was felt in industrial belts such as Coimbatore, Tirupur and delta districts, such as Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts where the Left parties have a considerable presence. While Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi stressed that the strike had left very “little impact on the normal life of people,” leaders of political parties that gave the call for the strike claimed that it was a success. In Tamil Nadu, besides the Left parties, the major Opposition party AIADMK and its ally MDMK had called upon the people to take part in the strike.
“Though in a few places factories and shops remained closed, a majority of industries, commercial establishments functioned normally,” the Chief Secretary said in a statement.
Mr. Sripathi said 375 persons were taken into preventive custody, another 10,221 persons involved in picketing, road roko, rail roko and demonstrations were arrested.
In Chennai, workers of the Left parties, led by CPI(M) MLA S.K. Mahendran, sat on tracks and raised slogans at the Central Railway station, delaying departure of the Ahmedabad-bound Navjeevan Express.
The busy Chennai roads were relatively free, as autorickshaws, affiliated to the Left trade unions, took part in the strike. Bus services operated by state transport corporations were not affected.
In Tirupur, activities in textile mills came to a standstill. Coimbatore witnessed a stone-throwing incident near Kovaipudur. Over 180 people including several women were arrested at the Nagapattinam railway station when they blocked Tiruchi-Nagapattinam passenger train.
In Kancheepuram district, N. Masthan of the AIADMK committed self-immolation while endorsing the general strike.