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Tamil Nadu to shut down today

Support swells for the spontaneous student protests

January 20, 2017 01:32 am | Updated 01:32 am IST - CHENNAI:

In support of the students’ protests across the State, the traders, pharmacists, hoteliers, theatres and few others in the service sector have decided to down shutters from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.

While colleges in most parts of the State have been closed, Collectors in districts of Madurai and Dindigul have announced holiday for schools. There is no clear picture on the functioning of schools in other places.

While one of the associations of private schools had declared Friday as a holiday, the State government did not come out with any announcement on the functioning of the schools State-wide.

Condemning the BJP-led Centre, the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peravai had convened an urgent meeting on Thursday and announced the shut down. This is in support of the students’ protests and condemning the Centre, said its president A.M. Vikrama Raja. The traders will hold a demonstration in front of Valluvar Kottam. Another traders federation led by T. Vellaiyan also endorsed the shut down.

Tamil Nadu Hotels Association president M. Venkadasubbu also issued a statement that the restaurants would not function from dawn to dusk to motivate the students who have come to the streets to protect Tamil culture. He asked the public to kindly bear with the inconvenience.

Pharmacies across the State will remain shut from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, said K.K. Selvan, general secretary, the Tamil Nadu Chemists & Druggists Association, which is a representative body of nearly 30,000 members engaged in pharmaceuticals retail and wholesale trade. However, the 7,000 hospital-attached pharmacies will remain open, he added.

Chennai district president W.S. Mohan Kumar said they would hold a procession from R.K. Salai and offer biscuits, fruits and water packets to the protesters on the Marina in support of jallikattu. However, a decision on closing pharmacies in Chennai was not taken, he said.

Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association, however, has not joined the bandh. The association has left it to the individual dealers to take a call, said sources.

Lorries will not ply in Chennai on Friday. “We plan to park lorries on Poonamallee High Road near Maduravoyal and not operate vehicles between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to stress on lifting of ban on jallikattu. Nearly 55,000 lorries across the State will not ply ply on Friday,” said S.Yuvaraj, president, Tamil Nadu State Sand Lorry Owners Federation.

Members of the Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation also plan to join the strike on Friday.

Similarly, members of All India Real Estate Traders, Agents and Workers Welfare Association also plan to join the protest at Marina beach on Friday.

Major trade unions, including the AITUC, CITU, INTUC, HMS and LPF gave a joint call for a general strike on Friday.

Doctors to stage dharna

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association will stage a dharna from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Madras Medical College on Friday in support of jallikattu, said P. Balakrishnan, State secretary. “For the next three days, government doctors in all districts will also wear badges, stage dharnas and form human chains in support of jallikattu,” he said.

Tamil Nadu Government Employees’ Union would hold demonstrations in all district headquarters on Friday condemning the ban on jallikattu. Many political parties have welcomed the bandh and extended support.

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