Bus services between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka resumed on Thursday evening after the statewide strike in Tamil Nadu ended. The Opposition-led strike was in protest against the Centre’s delay in implementing the Supreme Court’s order to constitute a Cauvery Management Board.
The deadline to set up the board ended on March 29. It is expected to ensure that the top court’s February 16 ruling on the allocation of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is implemented.
Earlier in the day, the Chennai Police detained Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Working President MK Stalin, who spearheaded the protests. Chennai came to a standstill as markets remained shut while autorickshaws and mini buses stayed off the road. There were fewer commuters on the streets than usual. More than 15,000 police officers were deployed across the city as a precautionary measure.
However, suburban trains and state-run Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses were running normally. An MTC official told The Hindu that around 3,000 buses have been plying since morning. Fuel outlets in the state also did not participate in the bandh.
Earlier in the day, Stalin and his party cadres held a protest near the EVR statue in Chennai’s Anna Salai. They stopped buses from plying, and traffic was affected till the Thousands Lights area in central Chennai, reported The Hindu.
DMK workers staged rail roko protests at the Lalgudi and Srirangam railway stations. Two trains – Chennai-bound Pallavan Express and the Vriddhachalam-Tiruchi passenger – were blocked. The police reportedly resorted to lathicharge near Wallajah Road to prevent DMK cadres from entering Marina beach where they had planned to protest at the Anna Memorial, according to The Indian Express.
The Opposition leaders are likely to take out a “Cauvery Rights Retrieval Yatra” after the bandh, reported NDTV. Stalin had earlier said that his party’s cadres will wave black flags when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Chennai. Modi will be in the city on April 11.
On March 31, the Tamil Nadu government filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against the central government. In its plea, the state government sought action against Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and Water Resources Secretary UP Singh for “wilfully disobeying” the court’s order. The top court will hear the petition on April 9.