TAMIL NADU

Strike near-total, peaceful

Protest mode: Shops remained closed on Oppanakara Street in the city on Thursday following the call for a general strike by the DMK demanding ceasefire in Sri Lanka. (right) The Old Bus Stand in Tirupur wears a deserted look. —

Protest mode: Shops remained closed on Oppanakara Street in the city on Thursday following the call for a general strike by the DMK demanding ceasefire in Sri Lanka. (right) The Old Bus Stand in Tirupur wears a deserted look. —   | Photo Credit: Photos: K. Ananthan and M. Balaji

Staff Reporter

Armed guards deployed at vital installations

Coimbatore: The dawn-to-dusk general strike call given by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to express solidarity with the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils was near total and passed off peacefully.

Offices, both government and private, and industrial units reported near normal attendance. Public transport system was affected with buses, both TNSTC and private, keeping off the road.

Autorickshaws too did not ply. Very few call taxis were on the road.

As a matter of precaution, the City Police had deployed armed guards at vital installations such as All India Radio, telephone exchange, Collectorate, railway station and bus stand. Riot combat vehicle – Vajra and water cannon were positioned near the bus stand besides deployment of strike force personnel.

Roads wore a deserted look with not even a single tea shop or petty shop remaining open. While hotels had downed shutters, public were forced to visit the various mess across the city. Roadside water melon vendors and tender coconut vendors did a brisk business. However, the Collectorate area remained busy despite shops remaining closed with workers of various parties flocking to support candidates who filed their nominations.

Industries suffer loss

Our Tirupur Reporter adds: Normal life was disrupted and industries suffered losses in the district. All the 228 buses attached to the Tirupur division of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation kept off the road till about 4.30 p.m. after the staff refused to operate them.

Some employees said they got scared after five buses were attacked by hooligans with stones at various parts of the district just a few hours prior to the commencement of the strike. The buses were damaged on Wednesday night at Anuparpalayam, Kamanaickenpalayam, Kundadam and Palladam areas.

The strike caused great inconvenience to the predominant migrant worker population in the Tirupur knitwear cluster, who were staying mainly in lodges and dormitories, as restaurants and tea stalls remained closed almost throughout the day. “The strike callers have put Tamils in the State in difficulty while ‘fighting’ for Sri Lankan Tamils to gain political mileage,” said a few workers, who were forced to skip lunch.

The strike forced stagnation of textile goods worth about Rs. 20 crore in the city for want of transport facilities.

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