Traffic on the arterial Thiruvananthapuram High Road was hit on Thursday after the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadres staged a road roko near Mary Sargent Higher Secondary School, Palayamkottai, in protest against the erection of a banner by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadre on the foot overbridge near the school.
Considering the safety of students while crossing this road, former AIADMK MP P.H. Pandian had released Rs. 13 lakh from his Constituency Development Fund a few years ago for construction of a foot overbridge across the thoroughfare. Subsequently, a hoarding was fixed on the structure acknowledging the MP's gesture.
DMK cadres erected a banner under the pretext of greeting the public on the occasion of ‘Pongal,' concealing the hoarding.
It triggered a flash protest by AIADMK cadres.
Led by Tirunelveli City AIADMK secretary ‘Popular' V. Muthiah, the workers blocked vehicular traffic near the overbridge and raised slogans demanding the immediate removal of the banner.
The protestors were arrested and taken to a nearby hotel premises.
While Mr. Pandian spoke to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tirunelveli City, Avinash Kumar, demanding the removal of the DMK's banner and the release of the AIADMK cadres, his son and Rajya Sabha MP P.H. Manoj Pandian met the police officer to press the demand.
“If we are remanded to judicial custody without fulfilling our demand, we'll commence indefinite fast inside the prison,” Mr. Muthiah said.
The police agreed to remove the banner within 24 hours and the AIADMK cadres were released in the evening.
“If the police fail to keep up their promise, our protest will resume on Friday morning,” Mr. Muthiah announced.