Vaigai Express detained for 30 minutes in Madurai; Vaiko, cadre arrested, released

Vehemently opposing the Centre’s decision to participate in the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Colombo on Friday, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) activists, led by its general secretary Vaiko, detained Madurai-Chennai Egmore Vaigai Express for about 30 minutes and staged a demonstration here on Tuesday. The train, which was scheduled to leave Madurai at 6.50 a.m., left at 7.20 a.m., police said.

Mr.Vaiko raised slogans against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In the same vein, he blamed the UPA government at the Centre, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for ignoring the pleas of “millions of Tamils” and sending the External Affairs Minister to participate in the meet.

The MDMK leader demanded that India stay away from the conclave which alone, he said, would restore the lost respect for the country among the world community.

In this process, Sri Lanka would be exposed.

At a time when the island nation was accused of war crimes, it had no right to host the CHOGM, Mr.Vaiko said, and demanded that Sri Lanka should be removed from the Commonwealth group.

Appeal

He appealed to all Tamils to voice their support to the agitation.

“If we are not going to unite at this crucial hour, the Tamil community may be in jeopardy,” he cautioned.

The party cadres took a dig at Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for detaining Kolathur Mani, a Tamil outfit leader, under the National Security Act, for supporting the Sri Lankan Tamils. Many volunteers also hailed slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran and took a pledge to create Tamil Eelam.

Arrest

Along with Vaiko, party functionaries Alagusundaram, Mahaboob John, Minnal Mohammed and Madurai district secretary ‘Pudur’ K. Boominathan and a large number of cadres courted arrest.

When some police officers insisted on removing the agitators from the railway track, Mr.Vaiko said, “Our party never believes in violence and would not stand in the way of officers who discharge their duties.”

The police took the agitators to a private marriage hall, and released them in the evening.

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