Around 20 members belonging to a fringe group protested outside Chennai’s popular Sathyam Cinemas on Friday over the Cauvery issue. Members of the All India Hindu Sathya Sena demanded that the screening of films be stopped in the state as the Centre was yet to set up the Cauvery Management Board.
Hitting out at superstar Rajinikanth for going ahead with the audio release of Kaala on May 9, Vasantha Kumar, the chief of the All India Hindu Sathya Sena told the media, “Rajini has said he wants to bring Cauvery (to Tamil Nadu). After fulfilling his promise, he can release his film. If they continue doing this we will rip the screens."
Another member called out the double standards of those like actor-turned-politician Seeman, MDMK Chief Vaiko and others who carried out protests demanding that IPL matches not be held in Chennai over the Centre’s alleged failure to set up the Cauvery Management Board. “People like Seeman and Vaiko and other actors are disappointing people with empty promises.”
Security was temporarily beefed up outside Sathyam Cinemas in Royapettah, with police personnel standing outside the premises. Barricades were also placed. However, traffic was not disrupted in Royapettah during the protest.
The latest protest comes a month after Chennai witnessed massive protests by several political parties and groups over the hosting of the IPL in the city. At the time, Rajinikanth had asked the IPL players to sport black bands as a sign of protest and also went on to say, “It is an embarrassment if we enjoy IPL during this crucial time. Our team (CSK) should try to wear black badges during the game to send the message across the country, the team owners should also support it.”
Many had called out Rajinikanth’s hypocrisy for holding a grand audio launch at a time when the Centre was yet to draft a scheme.
Director Ram had, however, defended the decision to go ahead with Kaala’s audio launch, stating, “A lot of us protested against IPL because we knew the issue will escalate and gain international attention. The whole idea was to draw attention to the issue at hand. And it was a success. But since then, a lot has happened in the state. Kaala audio launch does not have the magnitude that IPL had. Protesting against this might take a different tone altogether. It might become electoral politics. Protests should not have electoral agenda,” said Ram.
Those like Seeman, directors Bharathiraja and Ameer had formed a Forum for Welfare of Tamil Art and Literature that would fight for causes such as the Cauvery issue.
Following protests, CSK matches were shifted out of Chennai to Pune.
Despite the protests in Tamil Nadu, however, the Centre is yet to frame a draft scheme that will oversee the implementation of the Supreme Court’s final orders with regard to the Cauvery issue. The apex court has directed the Centre to submit a draft scheme on May 14 and also asked the Water Resources Department Secretary to appear before court and explain the scheme.