A bandh sponsored by the Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu to protest against the Union government’s failure to form a Cauvery management board began on Thursday.
Since last week, protests, fasts and demonstrations are being held in the State against the Centre’s failure to set up a Cauvery board. The Opposition alleges that the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu has failed to exert pressure on the Central government to constitute a board.
Karnataka bandh on April 12, says Vatal Nagaraj
Meanwhile, Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha president Vatal Nagaraj on Thursday staged a demonstration at the inter-State arch on Karnataka side near Attibele. Announcing a " Karnataka bandh" on April 12, Mr. Nagaraj warned against the screening of films of actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan in Karnataka. "We will not allow their movies in Karnataka", he said.
"We were waiting for the verdict. But, since Tamil Nadu had started the 'drama', we are announcing a bandh on April 12,'' he said. He went on threaten that if the Centre forms a Cauvery management Board, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be allowed to visit Karnataka.
Here are the developments related to the bandh from across the State.
(With inputs from Tamil Nadu bureau )
Madras Bar Association writes to PM
The Madras Bar Association has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the implementation of the Supreme Court judgement in the Cauvery water sharing case.
Life hit in Vellore
The bandh brought life to a standstill in Vellore. Almost all shops were closed in the fort city, with people staying off roads.
According to police, six government buses were damaged in pelting of stones. More than 2,000 persons affiliated to political parties, including the DMK, the Congress and the VCK were arrested for staging road and rail blockades. A total of 1,700 police personnel were engaged for security across the district, according to P. Pakalavan, Superintendent of Police, Vellore.
Shops along Anna Salai, Nethaji Market, Long Bazaar, RTO Road and Arcot Road were closed. Public transport was also affected with a number of commuters pointing out minimal bus services from noon.
Bandh near total in Salem, Namakkal districts
The bandh evoked good response in Salem and Namakkal districts on Thursday. More than 90 per cent of the shops were closed in the districts. The major vegetable and flower markets, including the VOC Market, Shevvaipet Pal Market in Salem city, did not function.
TNSTC buses were operated as usual with police protection but there were less occupants. A majority of autos were off the roads. Though the 'Uzhavar Santhais' functioned as usual, it invited thin crowds. Inter-State buses between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were not operated at the Palar border at Kolathur near Mettur.
Both the TNSTC and the KSRTC buses plied up to their respective borders.
Stalin leads protest in Chennai
DMK working president M.K. Stalin staged a protest near the EVR statue on Anna Salai in Chennai. Chaos prevailed on Anna Salai and Kamarajar Salai as suddenly cadres of the DMK and Opposition parties blocked them.
Mr. Stalin, along with TNCC president Su. Thirunavukarasar, Congress leader K.V. Thangkabalu, VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan and Dravida Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani, squatted on the road near Anna Statue. Buses were prevented from operating.
Later, Mr. Stalin and other leaders were arrested.
Police immediately cordoned off the stretch, leading to a traffic pile-up till the Thousands Lights area. Two videographers fainted while covering the incidents, police said.
Mixed reaction in Thoothukudi
Most shops in Thoothukudi town remained open and buses were on roads as usual.
According to Tuticorin SP, Mahendran, about 50 per cent shops across the district remained closed.
Public transport unaffected in Chennai
The public transport services in Chennai, including suburban trains and MTC buses, were functioning normally despite the strike called by the Opposition.
A senior official of the MTC said almost 3,000 buses were operated since morning. Similarly, suburban train services on all sections were operated as per the schedule.
In southern districts
Life was hit due to the bandh in many parts of the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. Though 75% of buses were plying in Madurai, Virudhunagar and Dindigul divisions, as claimed by the transport authorities, not many commuters were seen at the bus depots.
Markets were closed but roadside tea shops were open.
Private vehicles moved around and share-autos/mini buses were off the roads.
DMK men stage rail 'roko' in Tiruchi
DMK men, led by Lalgudi MLA Soundararajan, staged a rail 'roko' at the Lalgudi railway station and halted the Chennai-bound Pallavan Express. At the Srirangam railway station, another group of party cadres blocked the Vriddhachalam-Tiruchi Passenger.
Youth Congress stages protest in Puducherry
About a dozen Youth Congress workers courted arrest while staging a protest in front of Raj Nivas in Puducherry over the Cauvery water sharing issue.
Over 2,300 arrested in Coimbatore
Till noon, more than 2,300 protesters, who took part in road blockades, picketing of Central government institutions and attempt to stage a rail blockade in support of the bandh at 30 locations were arrested, the Coimbatore police said. As many as 245 women are among those detained.
Two TNSTC buses and a bus belonging to a private company at Saravanampatti were damaged after protesters pelted stones. The TNSTC is operating a fleet of 602 buses (100%) in Coimbatore.
Services of State Transport Corporation buses of Kerala and Karnataka were suspended in Coimbatore.
The bandh has made a less impact on life in Coimbatore, as vehicles, including a majority of TNSTC and private buses, plied normally. Vehicles of educational institutions were also seen operating as usual.
Miscreants damage government bus in Tirupur
A side windowpane of a public transport bus was damaged when some miscreants pelted stones at the vehicle near Tirupur on Thursday. Police officials said they had identified seven persons who hurled the stones.
Traders joined the shutdown in the district.
About 70 members of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam and the Indian Union Muslim League were arrested as they attempted to stage a train blockade agitation in Tirupur
DMK MLAs block train in Tirunelveli
DMK cadres, led by former Tirunelveli MLA N. Maalairaja, blocked the Nagercoil Passenger at Kurunthudaiyarpuram in Tirunelveli on Thursday morning.
Palayamkottai MLA T. P. M. Mohideen Khan too joined the rail 'roko'. As talks with the protesters failed, the police arrested them. About 97 DMK cadres, including 17 women, were arrested.
More than 75% of the buses from Tirunelveli have left for the destinations as scheduled. However, nearly 50% of the shops remained closed in the distrcit.
In Palayamkottai, police pacified a group of students who tried to stage a demonstration near the St. Xavier's College, Palayamkottai.
Good response to bandh in Karur
More than 80 percent of shops and business establishments remained closed in Karur district. Many of the textile units were also closed in Kaur and neighbouring areas.
However, bus services were not affected.
Go soft, police told
A high alert has been sounded across Tamil Nadu to tackle any bandh related violence. In a note to Commissioners/Superintendents of Police, the Director General of Police has called for all-out efforts to maintain peace amid continuing agitations such as rail/road roko and demonstrations.
The police were directed not to use force to the extent possible.
Traders join shutdown
Traders affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peravai will down their shutters across the State in solidarity with the farmers seeking the constitution of a Cauvery management board.
Earlier, the traders’ body planned to shut shops and register its protest during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the State on April 11.
Petrol pumps to remain open
Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association president K.P. Murali said that the 4,650 pumps in the State would remain open during the bandh as only certain political parties and organisations had called for it.
State president of the Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Employees Welfare Association S.A. Ponnusamy said that members would provide in-principle support to the bandh. Milk shops would remain open and members have been asked to ensure milk supplies to consumers. The members would wear black badges. However, since a section of retailers was participating in the bandh, they wouldl not stock milk, he added.
Supreme Court's assurance
On April 2, 2018, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra orally assured Tamil Nadu that the court will ensure that the State gets its due allocation of the Cauvery water.
In an urgent mentioning by Tamil Nadu, a Bench led by Chief Justice Misra agreed to hear the State's plea to initiate contempt proceedings against the Central government for its “willful disobedience” of the February 16 court judgment in the Cauvery dispute mandating it to frame a scheme for allocation of the river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.
Chief Justice Misra orally remarked that the term "scheme" used in the judgment does not mean Cauvery management board only.
The court has scheduled the case for hearing on April 9.