Condemning Tamil Nadu government’s lack of proper response to the Thoothukudi killings, DMK and other opposition parties have called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh in the state on Friday. While the bandh is set to affect normalcy in the state, a few services might still function.
Federation of Tamil Nadu Traders Association (FTTA) had called for statewide bandh on Thursday which received mixed response. While Thoothukudi and surrounding districts had shut shops, the situation was not the same in rest of the state. Speaking to TNM, a member of the association says that 50% of the shops were shut across the state on Thursday and it is up to the individual shop owners to take a call on the bandh that has been called for on Friday by the opposition parties.
While public transport will remain functional, a member of the transport association says an official statement has not been made and hence it is up to the individuals to take part in the bandh. "The auto drivers association has called for a strike on Friday but we cannot say for sure that all will participate. Taxi and share auto services will be available as usual," he added.
A Soundarrajan of Tamil Nadu State Transport Employees Federation says while they’ve agreed to participate in the bandh, he anticipates that the government might still run buses with limited man power.
Ola and Uber drivers who have been protesting against fuel price hike since Thursday will be continuing their strike on Friday as well. “Fuel prices have increased but fares remain the same. We have been protesting outside Ola office in Chennai since this morning,” said Boopathy of Centre Of Indian Trade Unions.
Perishable goods like fruits and vegetables, however, will be delivered to the consumers says Soundrarajan of Koyambedu potato wholesale merchants association. Milk too will be available in the state without any hassle. Speaking to TNM, Tamil Nadu Milk Distributors Welfare Association president S A Ponnusamy said, "If politicians were to shut their factories, industries and media houses, we will also take part in the strike. While their industries are still functioning, why should we alone stop?"
The press release from DMK reads, “We decided to observe a one-day bandh on May 25 to condemn the shooting, to close down the Sterlite plant and to strongly criticise the govt for unleashing State-sponsored terrorism.”
“The DMK, the All India National Congress, the Dravidar Kazhagam, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the CPI, the CPI (M), the Indian Union Muslim League, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi will participate in the day-long state-wide protest," it added.
While Thoothukudi grapples with access to basic necessities, Sandeep Nanduri, Thoothukudi Collector, has said that action is being taken to keep aavin booths, amma unavagams, farm fresh outlets and ration shops open in the district. Public transport, however, still remains nonfunctional.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, two days after the killings, Chief Minister Eddappadi K Palaniswamy justified the police firing on unarmed protesters by calling it a “natural reaction” and added that it was not planned.
Putting the blame squarely on “anti-social elements” and Opposition parties for Tuesday’s violence, EPS claimed that they had instigated the people of Thoothukudi to give a bad name to the government.