Chennai, Sep 15: Tamil Nadu is bracing for a dawn-to- dusk bandh supported by Opposition parties tomorrow on the Cauvery with police deploying thousands of personnel across the state to ensure peace even as a youth set himself on fire here today over the water sharing row.
The bandh call given by several farmers and traders bodies, including Tamil Nadu All Farmers' Federations and Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu (a traders' collective) is supported by main Opposition party DMK, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, MDMK, PMK, TMC, CPI(M), and CPI.
Protesters have also called for rail and road 'rokos'. Primarily to protest the violence targeted against the Tamils in Karnataka, the bandh is also aimed at seeking Cauvery water for the state and a final solution to the problem.
Ruling AIADMK and trade unions affiliated to it have been non-committal on their participation in the bandh. After Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart Jayalalithaa, urging her to ensure protection of Kannada speaking people, police said all measures have been taken to ensure peace.
Thousands of police personnel, including armed reserves will be deployed in Chennai and other parts of the state. Over 15,000 police personnel will be on duty. Protection was being provided to Karnataka-related business establishments, schools, institutions and areas where Kannada speaking people live, including Krishnagiri district.
Commercial firms, including over 35,000 jewellery and fuel outlets are expected to remaine closed. However 'Company Owned and Company Operated Fuel Outlets' of Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil will operate, officials said.
While sporadic demonstrations were held today too, a 24-year-old man set himself on fire at a rally held by Nam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) here for "retrieving Tamil Nadu's rights in Cauvery," and to condemn attacks on the Tamils in Karnataka.
An official of the Kilpauk Government Medical College Hospital, where he has been admitted, told PTI the "man has sustained 93 per cent burns, his chances of survival are dim." "It is a painful act. We do not support it. No one should do such a thing," NTK leader Seeman said.
Before he set himself afire, he threw pamphlets urging people to fight for rights of Tamil Nadu people on Cauvery and other issues. Blaming the Centre on Cauvery, unidentified persons pelted stones at an office of Indian Oil Corporation Limited and some glass panes were damaged, police said.
Tamil outfits in Union Territory of Puducherry have called for a similar bandh tomorrow.