Normal life was disrupted in Tamil Nadu on Saturday as a dawn-to-dusk bandh was observed in the state to express anguish over Supreme Court's stay of 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in elite educational institutions.
The state was cut off from the remaining parts of the country with no flight or train services being operated. Buses, taxies and autorickshaws were off the roads and almost all shops remained closed throughout the state.
The TIDEL park, which houses a number of IT firms and employs over 10,000 software professionals, was devoid of activities as the companies declared a holiday.
The industrial hub of Coimbatore also came to a virtual standstill with most of employees abstaining from duty. The state chief secretary LK Tripathy said the bandh was total and incident free. Patrolling has been intensified throughout the state to prevent any untoward incident, police said.
The DMK and its allies, Congress, PMK and Left parties had given the bandh call after the Supreme Court issued a stay on reservation of seats for Other Backward Class students in elite educational institutions like the IITs and IIMs.
Reservation was an emotional issue in Tamil Nadu as it had allocated certain percentage of posts in government services for backward classes way back in 1927, when the famous 'Communal GO' was issued, under which one among every five posts in the government services were reserved for OBCs.
AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa described the bandh call as an "eye wash", accusing the Centre of not projecting the case "properly" in the Supreme Court.
Tamil Nadu was always in favour of reservation for OBCs. Even the first constitutional amendment passed by Parliament in 1952 was to protect reservation for OBCs in the state.
The state has reserved 50 per cent of seats in educational institutions to OBCs and 19 per cent to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Political parties also did not favour the creamy layer concept in reservation.
Meanwhile, a day-long bandh on the issue was observed in the Union Territory of Puducherry too, affecting normal life.
Buses, autos and other modes of public transport were off the roads and shops and business establishments remained closed in the bandh called by constituents of the Democratic Progressive Alliance, including ruling Congress.
However, government offices were functioning as most of the employees turned up for duty on two-wheelers. Police were deployed at all vantage points.
PMK legislator PKR Anandaraman was held along with his supporters in Ariyankuppam when they allegedly tried to close some shops forcefully, police said.
Mahavir Jayanthi celebrations in Puducherry have been postponed to Sunday due to the bandh, official sources said.