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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2954

TN, Pondy observe strike, normal life by and large unaffected

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 05 February ( With DMK and AIADMK remaining on the sidelines, the anti –Eelam war protest strike in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday January 4 failed to make an impact. 'The strike failed to derail normal life', police are quoted as saying though the CPI, one of the sponsors of the day –long strike, however, claimed good public response to the call. Independent sources said that some violence marked the day in Chennai and that the life was hit in Puducherry.

The Lankan Tamil Protection Movement led by Tamil nationalist leader P. Nedumaran gave the call for the strike which coincided with the observance of Independence Day in Sri Lanka. PMK, CPI, MDMK, BJP and some other parties have lent their support to 'protest' the on-going offensive against the LTTE. Congress and Marxist big brother, CPI (M) as also many trade unions have kept away terming the strike as an attempt to 'shore up the sagging image' of a few leaders.

Nedumaran said 'The whole thing is a grand success'. He added: 'If the Central and State governments continue to ignore the feeling of Tamils in the State, bigger protests will be inevitable'.

Vaiko of MDMK also echoed the same view saying 'Successful (strike) despite DMK government's attempts to suppress it'.

But police officials said that as day progressed life came limping back to normal. On the eve of the strike and as the day progressed, police have rounded up more than 1,100 protestors. CPI legislator N. Ulaganathan was among those arrested in Tiruvarur district. At least in Chennai, traffic appeared normal and business establishments were open though educational institutions were closed on government orders.

Over 45 buses were damaged in incidents of stone throwing in Cuddalore, Trichy, Madurai, Sivakasi, Ramanathapuram and Kanyakumari besides Chennai. According to police, a cycle show room was damaged outside the High Court; the owner and one employee were hurt. Most protestors are said to be political activists, students and lawyers.

D.M.K Stan

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is trying to do a fine balancing act on the Sri Lanka ethnic issue. It is targeting the Lanka Army and the government for what it calls wanton killing of Tamils in the Island nation. At the same time, it is endorsing the views of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a political solution. Going a step ahead, it is also demanding full devolution of power.

Congress leaders in Tamil Nadu have been openly endorsing the Delhi line for a long while, though significantly they are for the involvement of Delhi and Chennai for a 'tangible' solution.
In so far the Wednesday strike is concerned, both the DMK and Congress have called it illegal and anti-national. The Supreme Court has refused to stay the strike call, rolling back its opposition to strikes. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Balkrishnan has ruled 'general strike is part of democracy'.

Chief Minister Karunanidhi believes that Delhi is not 'doing enough' to ease the situation in Sri Lanka. But he has no immediate plans to visit Colombo in response to the invitation extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. 'No comments now'- was all he was prepared to say when asked about the invitation which was also extended to his betenoire Jayalalithaa Jayaram of AIADMK.

DMK's executive committee has decided to go to the people to explain its stand – full devolution of political power in North and East Sri Lanka within a time frame and permanent ceasefire. It has set up a special forum – Sri Lankan Tamil Liberty and Welfare Peravai – for the campaign.

- Asian Tribune -

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