Chennai, April 4 : Artists and producers of the Tamil film industry observed one-day hunger strike today at Chepauk Stadium, condemning the attacks on cinema halls screening Tamil movies in Bangalore, and expressing solidarity with the State Government on the Hogenakkal drinking water project.
Leading Tamil film personalities like Rajnikanth, Kamal Hasan and scores of technicians participated in the hunger strike, which was called by the Tamil Film Chamber of Commerce. They said that it was not the first time when the Tamil film industry was targeted. On the occasion, the Tamil film personalities also conveyed their support to the State Government for the ongoing dispute with the Karnataka Government over the Hogenakal drinking water project.
Filmstars believe that it is the Tamil film industry that bears the burnt of the political issues of the two states giving scope to differences.
"The concern is that every time we don't expect Tamil film people, Tamil film fraternity to be targeted whenever there is a problem in Karnataka whatever may be the reason. The first anger is shown on films, the films are being banned, being brought down from the theatres; the channels have been cut off. So I think it is even affecting a lot of people financially but it is not that we are dependent on them and I think Tamil cinema should be not targeted anyways," said actress Khusboo.
The Rs. 1334-crore Hogenakal drinking water project is expected to provide water supply for the people in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts.
The actors felt that the government should not mix art with politics and said that the issue should not affect the film industry.
"We know that we have enough problems in India regarding caste, religion and so and so ...social causes, political causes and water problem, which has always been there down south and we have been having political fights but it is entering into the field of arts is something unusual and very unexpected and I don't think its should happen," said Narain, an actor.
Hogenakal, a beautiful natural boundary between the two states is fast becoming an election issue.
A recent statement by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi over the project undertaken by his government has evoked strong protests in Karnataka.
Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister SM Krishna alleged that Karunanidhi had used some harsh language against the people of Karnataka. However, Karunanidhi denied this allegation on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Krishna and Union Shipping Minister T.R Baalu met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh separately to seek the Central Government's intervention on the issue. Krishna urged the Prime Minister to convince the Tamil Nadu Government to postpone operationalisation of the project till the ensuing polls in Karnataka.
Baalu, on the other hand, said Karnataka should have no objection to the drinking water project that is coming up on Tamil Nadu's border with Karnataka.
He also claimed that the Centre had given a no-objection certificate to the project as far back as 1998, and described its obstruction by vested interests in Karnataka as deplorable.
The project is located on the 64 kilometres long Palar River, which flows through the thick forest of Chamarajnagar and joins with the Cauvery river. While northern bank belongs to Tamilnadu, the southern bank falls in Karnataka.