Chennai : Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and supported by the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu turned out to be a damp squib with the public not responding at all to the shutdown-call.
In urban centres of Tamil Nadu, like state capital Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Erode, Salem, Trichy, and other district capitals, there was no response to the bandh call. Vehicles, including state transport vehicles, autos, and taxis were plying as usual in Chennai and all other urban centres of Tamil Nadu.
In Kumbakonam, however, 30 Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers were arrested for blocking a train. Police arrested the CPM cadres and removed them.
In Guindy, Chennai, a group of people led by CPM Politburo member, Ramakrishnan conducted a protest march and a roadblock against the farm laws of the Government of India.
Ramakrishnan and the CPM cadres were arrested and removed by the police. In Chennai city also a group of CPM, CPI, and CPI-ML activists tried to block the road in support of the Bharat Bandh call of Samyuktha Kisan Morcha. Police arrested the cadres and removed them from the spot to ensure smooth traffic.
Police also removed some Left workers who were picketing the Mount road in support to the Bharat Bandh.
M. Pandyan a shop owner at TNagar in Chennai said, “I don’t know why there is a Bandh and we don’t generally shut our shops during any Bandhs except maybe a Bandh called over the water issue.” He said that he was a DMK supporter but does not subscribe to the bandh call.
Kamal Haasan-led Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) cadres though were seen in large numbers protesting at various places of Chennai and Coimbatore.
K.S. Ashok Kumar, of Tambaram Chennai who is a daily wage worker and an MNM party cadre while speaking to said, “We have protested in Tambaram, Mount Road, and Guindy in Chennai against the draconian farm laws. Police removed us.”
DMK farmer wing general secretary, Periyasamy had made a fervent appeal to the people of Tamil Nadu to cooperate with the Bharat Bandh but it did not evoke any response.
Schools and colleges are also functioning normally in Tamil Nadu and there are no incidents of forced closure of shops or establishments in the state.
S. Sarangapani, Professor of Political science, in Erode, : “Tamil Nadu has traditionally not supported such bandhs except for bandhs called on Cauvery and issues that are directly impacting the lives of the people. Still, people are wise enough here not to shut shops and establishments and to bring life to a standstill. In a similar vein, the people of Tamil Nadu have cold-shouldered this bandh also.”