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Members of various opposition parties stage a protest during a strike called by the opposition parties over the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) water issue at Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu on Thursday. Photo: PTI
Members of various opposition parties stage a protest during a strike called by the opposition parties over the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) water issue at Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu on Thursday. Photo: PTI

Strike over Cauvery board disrupts life in Tamil Nadu

Roads and rail tracks blocked across Tamil Nadu, DMK leader M.K. Stalin who led the march was arrested and released later along with other party cadres

Chennai: Five days of widespread protests in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry against the central government for its failure to constitute the Cauvery Management Board, culminated in a day-long bandh on Thursday, disrupting normal life.

The shutdown, called by the principle opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and other parties—except the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—was backed by the main traders’ association, nearly 10 transport unions, several farmer associations and student organizations.

The arterial Anna Salai in Chennai was blocked in the morning, as thousands of cadres from various political parties and other outfits protested and later marched to the Marina beachfront.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin who led the march was arrested and released later on Thursday, along with other party leaders and cadres.

Roads and rail tracks were blocked across Tamil Nadu. Some government buses were pelted with stones in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry.

A section of lawyers from the Madras high court in Chennai and employees of the central government’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. at Ranipet also staged protests.

On Thursday morning, buses from Karnataka and Kerala were stopped at the Tamil Nadu borders and weren’t allowed to ply till dusk.

While the Karnataka State Road Transport Corp. had announced it would not operate its daytime buses, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corp. stopped its services at Hosur in Krishnagiri district (Tamil Nadu) early on Thursday morning.

With demonstrations being held in front of central government offices across the state over the last few days, police were lined up at several government buildings. A group of people who tried to lay siege to the Governor’s house were detained.

About 100,000 police personnel were deployed across Tamil Nadu, with 15,000 police guarding Chennai alone.

The protesters allege the Tamil Nadu government has failed to exert pressure on the central government to constitute the Cauvery Management Board, as per the Supreme Court’s verdict.

Leaders of opposition parties—Congress, the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India(Marxist) or CPM, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, Dravidar Kazhagam, among others—led by DMK working president Stalin will meet on Friday morning to discuss the Cauvery issue.

While some political outfits in the state have called for boycotting Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in Chennai, DMK and other political parties plan a black flag protest when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the Defence Expo exhibition that begins on 11 April.

Stalin said, “The people of Tamil Nadu have united to protest against the centre and state’s inaction. We have heard that over 10 lakh people have been detained, today."

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