Cauvery dispute: Tamil Nadu opposition parties stage rail roko

KV Lakshmana, Chennai: Opposition parties, led by the DMK, on Monday began a 48-hour state-wide rail

blockade on the Cauvery issue, blaming the central government for its ‘anti-Tamil Nadu’ stand by refusing to constitute Cauvery Management Board.
Protesters from different political parties and Tamil Nadu farmers associations began stopping trains but were being taken into custody.
There is heavy deployment of police forces at railway stations across the state, but in several railway stations DMK activists thronged the platforms.
Farmers’ organizations are also backing the ‘rail roko’ to keep the pressure on the ruling AIADMK over the Cauvery conflict.
First among those detained by police included VCK chief Thol Thurumavalanan, at Basin Bridge station in Chennai for trying to stop local trains. It is on this line that major trains enter Chennai from North and Central India.
At Perambur station in North Chennai, DMK legislative party leader MK Stalin sat on the tracks along with several party workers. Holding DMK party flags, the protesters declared that they would not allow trains to and from Bangalore on this route to move. Nearly 200 police personnel present around the station could not prevent Stalin and his men from reaching the rail tracks.Reports of similar noisy protests came from different parts of Tamil Nadu. At Tambaram in Chennai few local trains and Navjeevan Express were stopped by DMK activists. They climbed onto the train engine at the station and efforts were on to persuade them to get down, police said.
Senior DMK leader and former union minister TR Balu was among the activists at the Tambaram station.
In Tiruchirapalli, farmers leader Aiayyakannan, was detained. He launched a diatribe against the central government and blamed the BJP for being ‘anti-Tamil Nadu’ in its approach and stance on the Cauvery issue. He accused the BJP’s local leadership of failing to put across the sentiments and problems of the Tamil Nadu farming community to the central government.
Aiayyakannan also charged the Modi government with being anti-Tamil Nadu for its u-turn on the constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board, which it had agreed to during previous hearings on the issue in the Supreme Court.How can the BJP explain when the central government, headed by its own party, was playing favourites and helping Karnataka, the farmers’ leader questioned.
CPI leader Muthuarasan, echoing the sentiments and stand of the entire opposition parties, demanded that the Tamil Nadu government call an all-party meeting on the issue.
“The BJP is engaging in double speak,” he said and questioned the central government’s u-turn, which he said was only with an eye on Karnataka assembly elections.
Rebuffing all these allegations, BJP state unit president Tamilisai Soundarrajan said “there is no need for any protests. The central government is fully seized of the matter and Tamil Nadu’s interests would be protected at all costs.”