Chennai: Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have called for a state-wide shutdown on 5 April after the central government failed to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB). The decision on a Tamil Nad bandh was taken at a meeting of opposition parties chaired by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M.K. Stalin on Sunday.
“We will also seek the support of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) for the complete shutdown on 5 April. It has also been decided that black flags would be shown to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Union ministers when they visit the state," said Stalin.
The prime minister is expected to visit Chennai on 11 April to inaugurate a defence expo organized by the defence ministry.
A decision will soon be taken regarding a “Cauvery retrieval walk" from the districts in the Cauvery Delta region, to demand the state’s rights.
Immediately after the meeting with representatives from Congress, Communist parties, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Indian Union Muslim League, the DMK staged a protest at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai, along with various other organizations.
While the leaders including Stalin were detained by the police, cadres and others continued to protest. Stalin said: “This is an indefinite protest and will continue till the Cauvery Management Board is announced."
Around 20 people who raised slogans against the centre and displayed placards at Marina beach were detained on Saturday. The Chennai Police have intensified vigil and deployed personnel on the beach, which has been made out of bounds for protests since the pro-Jallikattu uprising in 2017.
On Saturday, the Tamil Nadu government moved the Supreme Court with a contempt petition against cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha and Union water resources secretary U.P. Singh for failing to frame a scheme on the Cauvery issue, within the Supreme Court’s six-week deadline that ended on 29 March.
Meanwhile, the centre sought three months’ time to implement the apex court order due to the upcoming Karnataka elections.
The AIADMK on Friday announced that a hunger strike would be held at all district headquarters across Tamil Nadu on 3 April.
Stalin, the working president of DMK, had earlier urged chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to convene a cabinet meeting and pass a resolution condemning the central government and Prime Minister Modi over the silence on constituting the board.
“As far as the Cauvery water issue is concerned, both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AIADMK have together cheated the people of Tamil Nadu," Stalin said on Friday.
On 16 February, the Supreme Court asked the centre to form the Cauvery board to implement a formula for sharing of water between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Tamil Nadu wants the board in place to protect its interests, while Karnataka is not in its favour.
The apex court directed Karnataka to release 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water to Tamil Nadu. This reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water by 14.75tmcft from the 192tmcft allocated by a tribunal in 2007.