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Bandh in Tamil Nadu over drought-hit farmers, DMK's MK Stalin arrested

Tamil Nadu police on Tuesday arrested Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Working President MK Stalin and several others party cadres during a statewide bandh called to press for immediate resolution of farmers’ issues.

Stalin was protesting in Tiruvarur while other opposition parties were holding protest demonstrations in different parts of the state. Senior DMK leader and former Union Minister T R Baalu was among those who took part in the agitation in Tiruvarur.

Shops, hotels were closed across the state affecting normal life. Government buses were, however, seen on roads and central and state government offices, public and private sector undertakings, too, remained open. Petrol pumps were also functioning with their operators sporting black badges in support of the strike.

Police forces have been deployed in large numbers in major places to prevent any untoward incident. The opposition parties chaired by Stalin had last week decided to observe the strike on April 25 in wake of immediate action on the part of state and central governments in resolving the issues of Tamil Nadu’s farmers. They urged the state government to waive off all farm loans and convene a special session of the assembly to discuss the farmers’ issues.

The shutdown has been called by DMK, Congress, CPI-M, CPI, VCK and IUML. Trade unions affiliated to these parties also lent their support. However, both factions of AIADMK, BJP, MDMK and TMC(M) are not participating in it.

In Chennai, farmers’ leader P Ayyakannu, who staged protest in the national capital for 41 days, and Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President Su Thirunavukkarasu took part in a demonstration held at Egmore.