City awash with black balloons, flags

Blunt message: A huge black balloon floating atop former Chennai Mayor Ma. Subramaniam’s house in Saidapet, Chennai, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit.   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Hundreds of black balloons with the words ‘Modi Go Back’ printed on them were released into the city’s skies and black flags were hoisted at the houses of opposition leaders and thousands of cadre on Thursday against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to constitute the Cauvery Management Board. Mr. Modi arrived at the Chennai airport from New Delhi and took a helicopter to reach the venue of the DefExpo 2018 near Mamallapuram to inaugurate the event.

Cadre of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Congress, the Left, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (all friendly to the DMK) and those belonging to the Naam Tamilar Katchi and Tamizhaga Vaazhurimai Katchi took to the streets to stage protests. DMK president M. Karunanidhi sported a black shirt, while his son and party working president M.K. Stalin, along with leaders of friendly parties, continued his Cauvery Rights Retrieval Rally on foot, wearing black clothes in Cuddalore.

Black flags were hoisted at the Gopalapuram and Alwarpet houses of Mr. Karunanidhi and the DMK headquarters. Similar scenes were witnessed at the houses of prominent leaders and cadre in the districts.

The protests also offered a throwback to the days when the DMK organised a black flag protest during the visit of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to Madurai in 1979 (that resulted in violence).

Before leading the protests in Guindy, former Mayor Ma. Subramaniam floated a giant black balloon with the slogan ‘Modi Go Back’ at his residence.

“The balloon was brought down after three hours. The police visited my house and insisted on bringing it down. But no one allowed it. We decided to remove it after Mr. Modi left Chennai,” Mr. Subramaniam told The Hindu.

He said the balloon and the message had reached Mr. Modi, who was active on social media. “It topped Twitter trends. Mr. Modi would have understood the feelings of the Tamil people that he was not wanted in the State,” Mr. Subramaniam contended.

DMK MP Kanimozhi took part in protests in Saidapet, along with party MLA J. Anbazhagan. MDMK general secretary Vaiko participated in a demonstration in Saidapet.

DMK cadre held

The police arrested former MLA T.M. Anbarasan and scores of DMK cadre when they tried to stage a protest on the GST Road near the airport. Former TNCC president E.V.K.S. Elangovan, who set free a pigeon with a black cloth tied to its leg, and many Congress cadre were also arrested. The skyline was filled with black balloons near Guindy, 4 km from the airport.

In Alandur, TVK cadre, led by its founder T. Velmurugan, along with Tamil Nationalist Movement leader Pazha Nedumaran, assembled near the Kathipara junction. A few TVK cadre climbed atop a giant hoarding at the airport and were convinced by film director Bharathiraja to come down.

Over 3,000 persons, including eight MLAs, were taken into preventive custody in Chennai.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 6:02:50 PM |

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