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TN shutdown: DMK’s Stalin detained amid protests


Chennai: DMK had called on the shutdown to show solidarity with the state’s drought-struck farmers

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) working president M.K. Stalin, along with his senior party colleagues, was detained in Thiruvarur when he tried to block traffic during the one-day shutdown in Tamil Nadu.

G. Ramakrishnan, Mutharasan, Thirumavalavan, and M. Subramanian were also detained by the Chennai Police.

The DMK had called on the shutdown on Tuesday to show solidarity with the state’s drought-struck farmers.

The shutdown hit business in the state as several shops in Anna Nagar and Koyambedu market remained closed. The buses and autos, however, were moving as usual.

Along with the DMK, the Congress, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) and the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) also participated in the state-wide bandh.

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The film fraternity also expressed its support by cancelling shoots. Cinema halls were also closed for the day.

Despite the opposition parties led by the DMK calling on to observe a state-wide shutdown, the E. Palanisamy-led state government, a day before, asserted that normalcy will not be affected.

The police said it had taken all adequate steps, including a proper deployment of personnel in order to maintain law and order in the state.

Association of groceries, trade unions of auto drivers and local vegetable markets had also extended their support towards the bandh.

The DMK had called for a shutdown in order to urge the Central and state government to fulfil the farmers’ demands including adequate relief and setting up of a Cauvery management board.

However, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) termed the bandh call as being politically motivated.

Earlier yesterday, the Tamil Nadu farmers suspended their protest till May 25 after Chief Minister Palanisamy’s assurance.

“If our demands are not fulfilled we will start our protest again after 25th May. If we get train tickets, we will leave today,” said Ayyakanu, an agitating farmer.

Palanisamy yesterday said he discussed the farmers’ issue in the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council meeting and forwarded their demands to the Prime Minister.

The farmers have been grabbing headlines for their unique and sometimes bizarre methods of protest since they arrived in Delhi over 38 days ago.

Adorned with human skulls around their necks, the farmers attempted to grab the attention of authorities towards their condition and demands for drought relief package.

The farmers have so far performed ‘Angapradakshinam’ – rolling prostrate on the street at Jantar Mantar – staged suicides, conducted mock funerals, shaved off half their moustaches and beards, stripped in front of the Prime Minister’s office, eaten dal and rice off the road, stood with mice in their mouths and have hung skulls around their necks, which they claim to belong to farmers in their state who committed suicide because of mounting debt.

The farmers have been demanding Centre’s intervention to write off their loans from nationalised banks, a revised drought relief package and resolve the alleged drying up of the Tamil Nadu leg of the Kaveri river.

The state government and the Madras High Court have already waived their loans from co-operative banks.


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