Chennai: Over 300 MDMK activists, including its General Secretary Vaiko were, arrested for blocking train traffic as the dawn-to-dusk Tamil Nadu bandh called by pro-Eelam outfits demanding that India completely boycott CHOGM meet in Colombo got underway.
Normal life remained unaffected due to the bandh for which police have made elaborate security arrangements.
However, people who preferred to commute through railway faced hardship as some political parties staged rail-roko in various parts of the state which affected running of trains, police said.
Reports reaching here suggested that traders shut their shops in some parts of the state.
About 20 pro-Eelam outfits including MDMK, have given the bandh-call to scale up pressure on the Centre for boycotting CHOGM.
Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to skip the meet, the appointment of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to lead a delegation at CHOGM did not go well with few pro-Eelam outfits in the state.
“May 17 Movement”, Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and CPI have been observing rail blockades over the last few days.
In Madurai, 300 MDMK activists, including were arrested for blocking train traffic at the railway station.
The protesters detained the Chennai bound Vaigai Express for more than one hour before the police intervened.
In Ramanathapuram and Rameswaram the Madurai bound Rameswaram passenger was delayed for half an hour due to the protest by MDMK activists, police said.
Workers of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, which has two members in the state assembly, were also detained for staging a rail-roko at Tambaram railway station, police said.
The Students Federation of Tamil Eelam decided to boycott classes extending support to the bandh.
A meeting of DMK MLAs would be held at the party headquarters in Arivalayam today in order to take a decision on India’s participation in CHOGM and attending the special assembly session, being held this evening.
The Assembly had on October 24 passed an unanimous resolution demanding India “completely boycott” CHOGM and seek suspension of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth to protest against the alleged war crimes against ethnic Tamils living there.