Public transport unaffected, shops down shutters in several areas
The call for a State-wide general strike given by the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) on Tuesday evoked partial response. While shopkeepers downed shutters in several areas, public transport, educational institutions and government offices functioned normally. Stray incidents of violence were reported from a few districts, police sources said.
The general strike was called to put pressure on the Union government to vote against Sri Lanka when a U.S.-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka comes up before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) later this month.
In Chennai, students of Dr. Ambedkar Law College resorted to a rail roko agitation at the Chennai Central railway station and raised slogans against Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa. They demanded that India should vote against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva for its war crimes. The Chennai-Mangalore Express suffered detention for about an hour. The students were taken into custody. Some cadres of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi who tried to barge into the Basin Bridge Junction railway station to stage a protest were arrested.
Advocates owing allegiance to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam participated in a protest on the busy NSC Bose Road in Chennai in support of the strike. Shops in the locality remained closed, the sources said.
Members of the Tirumayam Town unit of the DMK, who were arrested for staging a road blockade, allegedly threw bottles and ransacked a bakery in Pudukottai town. The agitators were being transported in a police van to a marriage hall when the incident took place. They were arrested on charges of rioting. In Tiruvallur, a mob allegedly threw stones damaging six buses owned by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation.
There was no disruption in maintenance of essential services. Tight security arrangements were in place at vulnerable places and vital installations, including Sri Lankan establishments in Chennai, police sources added.
TESO consists of the DMK and a few friendly parties and organisations. Left parties and trade unions affiliated to them had decided not to join the strike.