The Kerala police on Tuesday clamped prohibitory order banning gathering of more than five persons in the border town of Kumily as protesters from Tamil Nadu and Kerala clashed with each other over the Mullaperiyar dam issue.
Simmering tension turned to full-blown violence on Monday night as both sides engaged in a street battle claiming their establishments and vehicles were attacked across the border.
Normal life came to a standstill in Kumily and neighbouring areas. Schools and establishments were given a holiday on Tuesday to ease the tension. Meanwhile, an all-party meeting was convened in Kerala on Tuesday.
Welcoming the Centre's decision to convene official level talks as a “positive step forward” to resolve the issue, the meeting authorised the UDF government headed by Oommen Chandy to pursue Kerala’s case taking all legal and administrative steps without compromising good ties with Tamil Nadu.
Chandy urged people to maintain calm. “Nothing should be done to vitiate healthy relations between two neighbours. There should be no violence as it would affect the impending talks,” he appealed.
Assuring that the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam was safe, in Chennai Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa appealed to the people of Kerala on Tuesday not to succumb “to mechanisations of ill-wishers and unscrupulous mischief mongers”.
“To me, these violence developments are alarming and based on imaginary, unfounded fears which have been fuelled by irresponsible positioning by vested political interests,” she said. Leader of the opposition in the Kerala assembly VS Achuthanandan said he would join the protests at Vandiperiyar and also become a link in the LDF sponsored 'human wall' formation in support of the issue at Kochi on December 8.
With inputs from agencies