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TN Cauvery bandh passes off peacefully; protesters detained

The day was marked by a slew of agitations, attempts to block trains and roads, by the bandh supporters, including opposition parties, across the state. Attempts to stop the Vaigai Express at Dindigul station was foiled by the police.

Hundreds of protesters were held as majority of shops and business establishments across Tamil Nadu downed their shutters in support of the bandh, police said.They were protesting incidents of violence targeting Tamils in Karnataka and demanding a long-term solution to the vexed inter-state river water issue.

The common man was put to inconvenience as restaurants, shops and petrol pumps remained closed till 6 pm in the state. However, the bandh did not affect functioning of state and central government offices, their undertakings, banks and PSUs though many of them witnessed thin attendance.

Also, government, state-aided and most of the private schools and colleges functioned albeit with lesser turnout. State transport corporation run buses, trains plied as usual, though most autorickshaws, taxis, private trucks and commercial freight operators chose to go off the roads. 

Cinema shows and film shootings remained suspended during the bandh period. In Chennai, DMK Treasurer Stalin who led a rally to the Egmore Railway terminal, was detained along with hundreds of party workers when they squatted in front of the terminal attempting to launch a rail roko agitation.

He told reporters that his party would support Chief Minister Jayalalithaa if she meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah over the Cauvery issue. He also accused her of “only writing letters,” over the issue.

DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, staged a road roko on arterial Anna Salai here along with party cadres and they were detained. She said the Centre cannot “keep away” from the Cauvery issue, adding efforts should have been made earlier to protect Tamil people and their properties in Karnataka.

Police, who had made elaborate security arrangements deploying thousands of personnel, including about 15,000 in Chennai, in view of the bandh, later said leaders and party workers detained for holding protests were being released.

Meanwhile, a youth who had set himself afire over the Cauvery issue on Thursday, succumbed to injuries. The activist of Naam Tamizhar Katchi had suffered over 90 per cent burns and died this morning at a hospital here. 

MDMK General Secretary Vaiko and VCK chief Thirumavalavan staged protests in Tiruchirappalli and here respectively and were detained by police when they attempted to stage a rail blockade. “We demand the Centre to constitute Cauvery Management Board,” Vaiko said, adding full quantum of 
water should be released according to the Cauvery Tribunal’s Award. Thirumavalan condemned the large-scale violence, targeting of vehicles and destruction of properties of Tamil people in Karnataka.
A stray incident of stone-pelting on a car showroom which was open was reported here. Police said that a probe was on in the matter.

Cauvery row: BJP says PM’s intervention not possible now
Karnataka unit of BJP on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the raging Cauvery row with Tamil Nadu was not possible at this juncture and termed the demand by the Congress government in the state as “petty politicking”.

It was an attempt by the state government to divert people’s attention from its “failure” on the matter, state BJP President B S Yeddyurappa charged.

“At this juncture, Prime Minister cannot intervene...We have to try to get justice through courts,” he told reporters here. He said: “During the the all-party meeting, Mohan Kataraki (senior counsel) had very clearly, in the presence of the Chief Minister and other Congress leaders, said it was not possible for the Prime Minister or the central government to intervene as the issue is before the Supreme Court.” 

Flagging the “extreme unrest” in Karnataka over the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had on September 9 dashed off a missive requesting Modi to call forthwith “on a few hours notice” a meeting of Chief Ministers of the two states to end the impasse.

After violent protest in the city following the apex court’s amended order directing Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu till September 20, Siddramaih had on Tuesday sought for an immediate appointment with the Prime Minister, a response to which is still awaited.

Yeddyurappa said BJP was of the “considered view” that repeated demand for Prime Minister’s intervention in this dispute is “politically motivated” and termed it as a devious attempt to divert the attention of people from the “abject failure” of the state government. 
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