Bandh over CHOGM passes off peacefully; normal life not hit

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Bandh over CHOGM passes off peacefully
Chennai, Nov 12: The day-long bandh called by pro-Eelam outfits in Tamil Nadu today against India's participation in the Commonwealth Summit hosted by Sri Lanka passed off peacefully without disrupting normal life by and large.

The bandh called by around 20 outfits, including Vaiko-led MDMK, evoked lukewarm response across the state while it was total in the neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry, according to reports received here.

Students Federation of Tamil Eelam boycotted classes

Normal life remained unaffected in Tamil Nadu with buses, autorickshaws, taxies and private vehicles plying as usual and schools and colleges and offices functioning normally. Shop owners who had downed shutters in several areas in the morning resumed operations by afternoon, reports said.

However, commuters faced inconvenience in some places following brief spells of rail roko by the protesters. Police, who had made elaborate security arrangements to maintain law and order, detained more than 2,500 protesters, including MDMK chief Vaiko for staging rail and road blockade.

Around 20 outfits and parties including MDMK, Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and CPI, had called the bandh demanding "total boycott" of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting being held in Colombo from November 15 and seeking suspension of Sri Lanka from the group for alleged war crimes against ethnic Tamils.

Vaiko, along with about 300 party activists, was detained for blocking Vaigai Express train in Madurai while more than 1,200 protesters were taken into custody for picketing railway stations in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Nilgiris districts. Around 15,000 small industries in Coimbatore and a few hosiery units in Tirupur remained closed, police said.

Cadres of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi were held for staging rail roko at various railway stations in Chennai, where life was normal.

Members of Students Federation of Tamil Eelam boycotted classes. Puducherry observed "total" bandh where majority of shops and business establishments remained closed and public and private transport kept off the roads. Most of the private schools in Puducherry declared a holiday and cinema houses suspended shows.

Tamil Nadu Assembly is holding an emergent special session to discuss India's participation in CHOGM and is expected to adopt a resolution urging the Centre to heed to its October 24 resolution which sought a "total boycott" of the event by India.

DMK President M Karunanidhi said his party would back any resolution if it was aimed at the welfare of Tamils.

PTI

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