Tamil Nadu observes shutdown in a peaceful manner (Roundup)

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Chennai, Sep 16 (IANS) The dawn-to-dusk shut down strike called in Tamil Nadu by various organisations representing farmers, traders, transporters and others evoked a good response and ended peacefully on Friday.

Meanwhile, a man who had set himself on fire on Tursday to protest Karnataka’s attitude to water-sharing succumbed to his injuries on Friday.

A majority of the shops, private schools, transport services like auto-rickshaws and private buses, and fuel outlets did not function in support of the shutdown, called to demand Cauvery river water and protest against attacks on Tamils and their property in Karnataka.

Several buses and trucks from Tamil Nadu were burnt to ashes by the hooligans in Karnataka over Supreme Court’s order to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu couple of days back. There were also incidents of Tamil Nadu truck drivers humiliated and assaulted by the demonstrators in Karnataka.

Police took into custody leaders and cadres of DMK, MDMK and other parties who tried to stage demonstrations onrailway tracks and roads. Across the state, police took into custody several thousands belonging different organisations.

Normally-crowded places like bus stands, commercial centres and roads wore a deserted look across the state even as a large number of policemen were deployed outside the stands, railway stations and other places.

While public transports, government offices, schools, colleges, banks and others carried on with their routine, a majority of shops remained closed across the state.

Many private schools also declared holiday while majority of auto-rickshaws, taxis and private buses remained off the roads.

The vegetable wholesale market in Koyambedu here was closed.

However, essentials like milk delivery by the state government undertaking Aavin was not affected, though supplies by private dairies were affected.

Privately-owned fuel outlets remained shut but those owned by the oil marketing companies were functioning.

Barring the ruling AIADMK party that remained silent on the issue of shutdown, all other major political parties had extended their support.

The BJP, while supporting the strike cause, condemned those organisations that planned demonstrations outside the central government offices.

In Trichy, MDMK leader Vaiko was prevented by police from holding protest blocking the rail traffic.

Speaking to the media, Vaiko said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government is also adopting the same policy like the earlier Congress government when it comes to the Cauvery river water sharing issue.

The central government is not setting up the Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulatory Authority, he said.

In Chennai, the DMDK party held a hunger strike while its founder A. Vijaykant citing health reasons did not participate in the protest as announced earlier.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin tried to hold protest in Egmore Railway Station but was taken into custody by police. Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi was also protesting and taken into custody.

Vignesh, who attempted self-immolation here on Thursday protesting against Karnataka’s attitude towards sharing of Cauvery river water, succumbed to his burn injuries on Friday.

In the neighbouring Puducherry too shops remained closed while the government buses operated in lower numbers and private transport services remained off the roads.

Meanwhile Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa announced release of water from Mettur Dam for Samba rice cultivation.

She said the water level in Mettur Dam is 84.76 feet. Hoping for further release of water from Karnataka as per apex court orders and expected water release order from Cauvery Supervisory Committee, Jayalalithaa said water from Mettur Dam is being released.



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