Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Chennai on Thursday morning amid protests around the city's airport over the issue of setting up a Cauvery Management Board.
Security was stepped up in the city and a large number of security personnel and police were deployed near the airport to avoid any untoward incidents.
Several protesters descended at Meenambakkam near the airport, raising slogans and holding placards that read 'Go Back Modi!', with some even climbing on top of a giant hoarding in the area to register their dissent.
பிரதமர் மோடி வருகையை எதிர்த்து நாம் தமிழர் கட்சி மற்றும் வாழ்வுரிமை கட்சி தொண்டர்கள் 100க்கும் மேற்பட்டவர்கள் விமான நிலையத்தில் போராட்டம் நடத்தி வருகின்றனர் அதில் சிலர் உயரமான அறிவிப்பு பலகையின் மீது ஏறி நின்று கொண்டு போராட்டம் நடத்தி வருகின்றனர் pic.twitter.com/3gigy1yR95— மு.குணசேகரன் (@GunasekaranMu) April 12, 2018
All of the protestors were dressed in black. The Chennai police also blocked a van carrying black balloons, which protesters planned to release in the air as Modi flew to the scheduled events on a helicopter. A video of the incident shows policemen bursting the balloons in the back of a truck.
Oh the massacre. Cops burst balloons one by one which protesters brought against to fly against @narendramodi. @Ahmedshabbir20 @subashprabhu @gavastk @sjeeva26 @Priyan_reports @Shiva_Tweeets @SteveNews1 @sivaramanpraba @Stalin_Tweets @shakti_strength @Vignesh_twitz pic.twitter.com/MQS6Ta13w8— Pramod Madhav (@madhavpramod1) April 12, 2018
The Prime Minister is in Chennai for multiple events. Modi will travel by helicopter from the airport to the Defence expo on the Old Mahaballipuram road, after which he will inaugurate four facilities at the Adyar Cancer Institute. He is also scheduled to visit the IIT Madras campus.
As a result of the protests, major traffic snarls were also reported to have clogged the long stretch leading to the Chennai airport.
Some reports suggested that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had to walk for over a kilometre to enter the airport and receive the Prime Minister.
Black flags were also spotted outside the residence of DMK chiefs Karunanidhi and MK Stalin's residences in Chennai as well as at the party's headquarters.
Stalin, who is presently on a Cauvery Rights Retrieval March across Tamil Nadu, led a rally in Seerkazhi.
Discontent is brewing in the state over the Central government's failure to set up the CMB and a Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee as ordered by the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fast on Thursday to protest the washout of Parliament’s budget session, for which the BJP has blamed the Congress.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that she would also fast to protest the disruption of Parliament by the opposition during the just-concluded Budget Session.
"I will be fasting. PM Modi is also fasting. Fasting is not going to stop him from coming to Chennai," Sitharaman said, after opening the DefExpo 2018 that showcases India's capability to manufacture arms and weapons platform systems.