Chennai: Various trade organizations and farmer associations in Tamil Nadu have called for a statewide shutdown on Friday, to condemn the violence targeting Tamils in Karnataka and to seek a long-term solution for the Cauvery dispute.

The main opposition party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and other opposition parties have extended their support for the bandh, which will extend from 6am to 6pm on Friday.

Urging DMK party members to extend complete support for the bandh, party president, M. Karnunanidhi, said in a statement, “DMK has decided to support the bandh."

Members of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), headed by Vijayakanth, will hold a hunger strike at the party headquarters in Chennai, while Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) founder Thol. Thirumavalavan said he would lead a protest with his party workers and participate in a rail blockade as part of the bandh.

What all will remain closed?

It is advisable to stock up on groceries, vegetables, milk and even fuel on Thursday itself.

Nearly 4,600 petrol bunks will be shut down till 6pm on Friday, the Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers’ Association said in a statement.

As many as 18,000 private schools—nursery, primary, matriculation and CBSE (private)—will be closed on Friday, said Nanda Kumar, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Private School Owners’ Association. The scheduled quarterly exam will be held on Saturday.

Around 1.5 lakh private milk distributors have also decided to shut down operations. However, Aavin Milk of the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd will be available at Aavin booths.

In Chennai, the Koyambedu wholesale market will be closed. Over 3,500 shops in vegetables, fruits, flowers and foodgrains market will remain shut, according to Koyambedu Licensed Merchants’ Association.

Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu (Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders’ Association) is taking part in the bandh, which means nearly 22 lakh shops will be closed, according to the federation.

Also Read: Cauvery water war: What Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are fighting for

Nearly 3 lakh lorries will keep off the roads till 6pm as the lorry owners and drivers will take part in the bandh. “In a day, nearly 35,000 lorries ply between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu," said Kumara Samy, president of State Lorry Owners’ Federation, Tamil Nadu. The federation has also demanded compensation for losses caused during violence in Karnataka.

Commuting out of town may become difficult as All Omni Bus Owners and Operators Association will also participate in the shutdown. However, government buses will operate.

Farmer outfits from the Cauvery delta, including Trichy, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts, which have formed a Cauvery Struggle Committee announced last week that they will protest on 16 September. “Farmers had to conduct agitations every year for release of water from Cauvery and this causes economic losses as agricultural works are affected," said P.R. Pandian, president of co-ordination committee of Thamizhaga All Farmers’ Association, last week.

All opposition parties and trade associations have been extending their support since then.

Puducherry Traders’ Federation said in a release that all merchants, business centres and traders will close their business operations in the Union Territory. They have extended their support to Tamil fringe outfits in Puducherry.

What triggered the violence?

Violence was triggered off in Karnataka over a Supreme Court order on 5 September, asking Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu for 10 days. On Monday the court reduced the quantity to 12,000 cusecs per day, but extended the period of release to 20 September, effectively increasing the amount of water to be released by 18,000 cusecs.

Protests rocked the state, especially in its capital Bengaluru, Mandya and Mysore, and incidents of rampage, violence and arson were reported. Dozens of vehicles with Tamil Nadu registration were torched and shops owned by Tamilians were vandalized.

Some incidents of violence and protests were reportedly carried out by fringe Tamil groups across the state border in Tamil Nadu.

On Monday evening, Section 144 was imposed across Bengaluru, Pandavapura and all four dam sites as violence intensified. It was lifted on Wednesday in 16 police station limits of Bengaluru. However, prohibitory orders are still in place.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to a preliminary hearing on the ongoing protests against the court’s verdict on the Cauvery water-sharing dispute.

Also Read: Deve Gowda rides Cauvery row to spring back into limelight

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