The dawn-to-dusk Tamil Nadu bandh on Friday on the Cauvery issue called by associations of farmers and traders passed off peacefully even as opposition leaders, including DMK’s M K Stalin and Kanimozhi, courted arrest while leading protest demonstrations in various parts of the state.
The day was marked by a slew of agitations and attempts to block trains and roads by 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.
Residents across the state were inconvenienced as restaurants, shops and petrol pumps remained closed till 6 pm. 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 CM Siddaramaiah over the issue. He also accused her of “only writing letters” .
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 his injuries. The activist of Naam Tamizhar Katchi had suffered over 90% burns and died on Friday morning at a hospital here.