Bandh evokes mixed response in Tamil Nadu

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The one-day bandh called by the Left parties in Tamil Nadu against the hike in petroleum products evoked mixed response.

While response was good in areas where the parties have a presence, in others life remained unaffected. Thousands of the CPI (M) and the CPI cadres, along with their MLAs and MPs, were arrested when they tried to stage rail and road rokos. Incidents of stone throwing were reported from some places, including Tirupur. Public transport was largely unaffected.

In Chennai, ‘rail roko’ programmes were held at Guindy, Ambattur and Thiruvottiyur. Around 2000 cadres of the Left parties were arrested. Only a few autorickshaws plied on the road as auto unions affiliated to the CITU and the AITUC extended their support to the bandh. CPI (M) MLA C. Mahendran, Thiruvottiyur Municipality chairman Jayaraman and other senior leaders were arrested, and released in the evening. The youth and students wings of these parties also participated in the protests.

A large number of arrests were made in Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts where the CPI (M) and CPI-affiliated agriculture labour unions have a strong presence. CPI (M) MLA V. Marimuthu, who led a ‘rail roko’ at Sikkil, was arrested. In Thiruvarur CPI MLAs Ulaganathan and Padamavathi were arrested along with hundreds of party cadres.

In Coimbatore normal life was not affected though more than 30 per cent of the autorickshaws affiliated to Left trade unions went off the road. CPI (M) central committee member W.R. Varadha Rajan, former MLAs U.K.Velliangiri, K.C. Karunakaran and others took part in the agitation.

In Kanyakumari district shops were closed in many places. CPI (M) MP Bellarmine, MLAs John Joseph and Leema Rose were arrested for leading protests. In Sivaganga, the CPI MLA S. Gunasekaran was arrested. CPI (M) MP P. Mohan, MLA N. Nanmaran and hundreds of party cadres took part in the agitations in Madurai.

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