All shops and establishments in Cuddalore town remained closed on Thursday in response to the call given by a bunch of political parties, consumer organisations and fishermen outfits seeking a referendum for Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.
A section of auto rickshaws and taxis stayed off the road, expressing solidarity with the organisers. However, normal bus services were operated for the day. There was visible police presence at important places.
The members of the political parties such as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, the Communist Party of India, Tamilaga Vazhvurimai Katchi, Consumer Federation-Tamil Nadu, and the Federation of All Residents’ Associations of Cuddalore observed a daylong fast in front of the Ambedkar statue here.
Those who participated in the hunger-strike included former DMK MLA Ela. Pugazhendi, M. Sekar of the CPI, Thamarai Selvan of the VCK, M. Nizamudeen of the Consumer Federation, and M. Maruthavanan of the Federation of All Residents’ Associations.
While some of the protesters wore black shirts, all of them tied a black cloth to their mouth, signifying that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance had gagged them by adopting arbitrary international policy in regard to the Sri Lankan Tamil issue.
They called for holding a referendum on the creation of Tamil Eelam so as to protect the rights of Tamils and to enable them to lead a decent and dignified life.
They asserted that what had happened during the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was genocide and as such Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who led the war should be declared a war criminal. They urged the Centre to pass a resolution stressing this point in Parliament.
They alleged that the Sri Lankan Government, least concerned about the sentiments of the Tamil diaspora, was continuing with atrocities and discrimination against the Sri Lankan Tamils. Condemning the Centre for its failure to stop the frequent killings of the Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, the protesters asked the Centre to impose economic sanctions against the island nation .
The protesters also voiced their support to the spontaneous student uprising in the State in support of the rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils.