Chennai: Opposition parties including the DMK today joined a state-wide rail blockade protest announced by a farmer's federation over the Cauvery issue, urging the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
DMK Treasurer and Opposition Leader in Tamil Nadu Assembly, MK Stalin was among those who participated in the protests held in different parts of the state including Chennai and the Cauvery delta districts. Stalin led a procession at Perambur even as scores of political workers belonging to DMK, the Left parties and MDMK among others staged a rail roko at Thanjavur and Cuddalore, and were detained.A farmers' federation had called for the two-day rail blockade starting on Monday, urging the Centre to immediately constitute the CMB.
The protests come days after a high-level technical team, set up by the Supreme Court, completed its inspection of Cauvery basin region in Tamil Nadu to assess the situation in the state. The team, which also inspected the Cauvery basin in Karnataka, is set to submit its report in the apex court today.
The apex court had set up the team while hearing a petition by Tamil Nadu government seeking release of Cauvery water by Karnataka.Meanwhile, reports from Madurai said, train services in Madurai and Tiruchirappalli divisions were affected as hundreds of farmers and members of various political parties blocked or attempted to block the rail traffic at various places, demanding constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.
Officials said, the train services were delayed by 10 minutes to half an hour. Madurai City Police resorted to lathi charge to disperse a strong crowd belonging to various opposition parties, when they insisted on staging a rail roko and attempted to enter the railway junction, they said.
Around five persons suffered simple injuries in the lathi charge. Leader of South Indian River Linking Movement, Ayyakannu was arrested at Kudamurutti Kudisai while he blocked the rail tracks on Tiruchi-Karur section. Party members and farmers put up a hut on the track to block the train near Kudamurutti.
Hundreds of DMK cadres blocked the train traffic in Pudukottai. In Cuddalore, over 700 farmers and cadres of political parties tried to enter the railway station for staging a rail roko agitation. Police had to resort to mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd. Nearly 300 persons were arrested, police said.
In Erode district, several farmers and opposition party workers who attempted to enter the Erode Railway Station were arrested by the police. Meanwhile, more than 2,500 workers of various political parties and farmers were arrested at different railway stations in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Nilgiris districts, while attempting to stage rail roko in protest against the Centre for refusing to constitute the Cauvery Management Board, as directed by the Supreme Court.
Over 600 workers, belonging to MDMK, CPI, CPIM, VCK, Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhakam and some other organisations assembled near city railway station. As they were proceeding to the station, police prevented them, leading to push and pull, they said. However, all the workers were arrested, police said. More arrests were made at Pollachi, Mettupalayam and Sulur Railway Stations in Coimbatore district.