TN bandh: Stalin and others court arrest
Normal life was on Tuesday partially hit in Tamil Nadu by the dawn-to-dusk bandh called by DMK-led opposition parties in support of drought-hit farmers.
Shops and business establishments downed their shutters while functioning of government and private offices besides public transport services remained largely unaffected.
DMK Working President M K Stalin, who was among hundreds of persons arrested for staging protests across the state, claimed that the bandh was a total success.
Besides DMK, Congress, CPI(M), CPI, VCK and IUML apart from trade unions affiliated to them, farmers bodies and the film fraternity supported the shutdown, which was also observed in neighbouring union territory of Puducherry.
The bandh call, which evoked a mixed response, was not supported by both factions of AIADMK, BJP, MDMK, PMK and TMC.
State Ministers Sellur Raju and Dindigul C Sreenivasan termed the bandh as "totally unnecessary."
Srineevasan dismissed the shutdown as "a publicity seeking exercise" which, he said, will not cut ice with the people.
He said the state government had taken all steps to address the farmers' grievances, including adequate relief.
Barring a few incidents of stone pelting, the shutdown was by and large peaceful, police said. The strike was marked by agitations, road and rail blockades with shops and establishments, vegetable markets and cinema halls remaining shut in several parts of the state.
However, public transport, including train and bus services, were largely unaffected.
Private cab services operated though a major chunk of autorickshaws remained off the roads. Though banks and private offices functioned normally, a section of bank employees staged a protest on the arterial Anna Salai here in support of the bandh.
They were led by All India Bank Employees Association C H Venkatachalam and CITU leader A Soundararajan.
The shutdown call was given at an "all-party" meeting covened by Stalin asking the central and state governments to fulfil the demands of farmers and farm labourers. They sought adequate relief, loan waiver by nationalised banks and setting up of Cauvery Management Board to address non-availability of water for irrigation. Stalin along with former Union Minister T R Baalu and others courted arrest after staging a 'road roko' in the Cauvery delta town of Tiruvarur.
Cadres of DMK, CPI(M), CPI and others were also detained by police. All of them were let off in the evening.