Tamil Nadu is witnessing a one-day bandh on Friday after various farmers’ associations and trade organisations called for a statewide shutdown to protest against the ongoing violence against Tamils in Karnataka over the Cauvery issue.
The principal opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), along with other parties, declared its support for the bandh, effective from 6am to 6pm.
DMK president M Karunanidhi issued a statement urging all members of the party to support the bandh.
Members of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), the party of Vijayakanth, will hold a hunger strike at the party headquarters in Chennai, while Thol Thirumavalan’s Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) will participate in a rail blockade.
Petrol bunks, schools, private milk distributors and many grocery shops will remain closed. The Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers’ Association said nearly 4,600 petrol bunks will be affected.
While more than 1.5 lakh private milk distributers have also decided to close shutters, Aavin Milk will be available at licensed booths around the state.
Chennai’s main vegetable and produce market in Koyambedu will be closed, along with 3,500 smaller grocery shops.
Nearly 3 lakh lorries will also keep off the roads. “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 the ongoing dispute.
Government buses will still operate on Friday.
The bandh is a response to the violence in Karnataka which targeted Tamils after the Supreme Court ordered the release of 15,000 cusecs of water from the Cauvery to Tamil Nadu on September 5. The court reduced the amount to 12,000 cusecs on Monday, but extended the period of release till September 20.
Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru saw riots erupt with buses being burned and public property being vandalised. There was violence even in Mandya and Mysore. Dozens of vehicles with Tamil Nadu registration numbers were torched and shops owned by Tamilians were attacked.
Across the border, there were a few reported incidents of violence carried out by fringe Tamil groups, including the attack on a popular hotel in Chennai.
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, albeit with prohibitory orders still in place.
Youth attempts self-immolation in protest
Meanwhile, a 25-year-old attempted to self-immolate himself in Chennai on Thursday in protest against Karnataka.
Identified as Vignesh, a member of Naam Tamizhar Katchi founded by film director Seeman, the man is said to be in critical condition.
The party was holding a rally here to protect Tamil Nadu’s rights over Cauvery river water when Vignesh poured kerosene and lit himself. Though the fire was doused, he suffered severe burn injuries and was taken to a government hospital.
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