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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Violence mars Pondy bandh


PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry was paralysed by the 12-hour general strike, with several reports of violent incidents, including the snatching of gun from a constable by a gang, attacks on an arrack shop and the house VCK organising secretary, and damages to around 10 buses.

Though the ruling Congress and its prime ally, the DMK, opposition parties including the AIADMK and PMC did not support the strike, the bandh was near total. A toddy shop run by close relatives of AIADMK secretary and MLA A Anbazhagan at Marapalam, which was kept open, was attacked by a 21-member gang on seven bikes. The gang, led by VCK cadre Saravanan, questioned the owner for keeping the shop open and damaged the toddy bottles and ransacked the shop. When Emile Raj, a police constable on duty there, tried to intervene, the gang snatched his gun and fled. After searching for three hours, it was found abandoned on the 100 feet road near the railway crossing. Two persons have been taken into custody in connection with the incident.

The gang also pelted stones at the house and car of another close relative of Anbazhagan in Mudaliarpet and a hotel in Kamaraj Salai. AIADMK cadre held demonstrations in front of the Mudaliarpet police station demanding action against the miscreants. In retaliation, stones were pelted on the house owned by Puducherry VCK organising secretary Pavanan at Mudaliarpet, damaging window panes and his car.

Police have registered cases in connection with the incidents, based on complaints by both AIADMK and VCK men. Buses were also not spared from the stone pelting, with the windscreens of at least 10 buses including one private bus and interstate government buses of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were damaged at Ariyankuppam, Thavalakuppam, Nellithope, and in the vicinity of Singaravellar statue and Indira Gandhi statue, as well as other places.

Police arrested eight Tamilar Dravidar Kazhagam activists when they attempted to set ablaze the effigy of Sri Lankan President Rajapakse near the Indira Gandhi statue. Private schools declared a holiday on Wednesday, though government and government-aided schools functioned with little attendance.

BANDH NEAR TOTAL: The bandh called by CPI, PMK, MDMK, VCK, All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi and Tamil Desiya Katchi on Wednesday evoked good response in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts. Most shops, restaurants, stationery outlets, department stores, tea shops, hardware stores and a large number of schools and colleges remained closed.

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