Based on intelligence inputs gathered ahead of the visit, the police swooped down on the members of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and other groups, who had descended in large numbers at the railway station on Friday morning.

The protesters continued to flow into the district in batches from Chennai via Puttur-Nagari and from Vellore area via Gudipala-Chittoor. Around 50 members clad in black shirts were whisked away to M.R. Palle police station, while a large number of them were ferried in buses to the Chandragiri police station. Carrying posters of Vaiko and the slain LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran, the agitators tore the posters of Rajapaksa. Around 50 vehicles carrying the protesters were rounded up in Puttur.

Speaking to the media, the agitators housed in the M.R. Palle station flayed the Central Government for spreading a red carpet to Mr. Rajapaksa, who they accused of masterminding ‘genocide’ of Tamils.

While blaming the Sri Lankan Government of ‘desecrating’ Hindu temples in the island-nation, they wondered why its President should be allowed to visit the Tirumala temple.

Speaking in a mix of Tamil and Telugu, some leaders wondered if it was democratic to arrest those who had come to show ‘black flags’.