The gates of the Madras High Court here were closed on Saturday as a section of lawyers continued with their agitation demanding that Tamil be made the language in the High Court.

Only the staff of a bank, post office, the press and telephones office located on the High Court premises were allowed entry.

A notice put up by the Registrar-General at the gates said that in view of the prevailing situation, all the gates of the High Court would remain closed on Saturday and Sunday. The gates would be kept open on June 21 (the next court working day.) The closure of the gates was done as a precautionary measure.

On Friday, seven advocates who were continuing their fast in the High Court building for the second day in support of the demand were arrested and remanded to custody.

In Madurai, the main gate was closed and lawyers and court staff were allowed only after verification.

4 more advocates held

Meanwhile, four advocates were arrested on Saturday after they attempted to go on a fast. According to police, the advocates tried to undertake a fast near the High Court gate on the NSC Bose Road, George Town. They were remanded to custody.

The lawyers arrested in Madurai on Friday continued their fast in the hospital on Saturday.

In a statement here, the president of the Tamil Nadu unit of BJP, Pon. Radhakrishnan, urged the State and Central governments to expedite action on the lawyers' demand. To begin with, Tamil could be introduced in Family Courts and Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko said the Tamil Nadu government was trying to suppress the advocates' agitation for a genuine demand. He condemned the arrest of advocates. Cases against them should be withdrawn immediately, he said.