A slew of black flag protests and release of black balloons across Tamil Nadu over the Cauvery issue marked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s one day visit today. He was here to inaugurate the Defence Expo at Thiruvidanthai, 40 kms from the city, and to open the Diamond Jubilee Building of Cancer Institute at Chennai. Police had made elaborate security arrangements to ensure Modi’s programmes went undisrupted. The Prime Minister used chopper to reach the Defexpo venue and briefly took the road route to attend the cancer institute event.
As Modi’s convoy passed through the sprawling IIT Madras campus on the way to institute, some in the crowd briefly raised placards against the Central government on the Cauvery issue. Be it black flag , balloon with slogan saying “Go Back Modi or the hashtag #GoBackModil in Twitter, they highlighted the mood of the protestors of various parties including DMK. Besides in Chennai, black flags were also hoisted atop the residences of several farmers and DMK workers in parts of the state including Coimbatore, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Dindigul, Karur and Ramanathapuram.
They were hoisted at the residences of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, party working president M K Stalin, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and other leaders. Cadres of CPI and CPI (M) also took part in the DMK led demonstrations to protest against Modi’s visit over the Centre’s “inaction” to form the Cauvery Management Board. The wheel-chair bound nonagenarian Karunanidhi sported a black shirt in lieu of his usual white at his residence. Similarly, Stalin, his sister Kanimozhi and second rung leaders including former Chennai Mayor Subramanian sported black attire.
Ahead of Modi’s arrival at the airport here around 9 AM, protestors began congregating at several locations in groups in its vicinity. Veteran film director Bharathiraja and film-maker Ameer were among those who held demonstrations near the airport, raising slogans against Modi on the Cauvery issue over which the state has been witnessing protests for the past many days. Besides the DMK’s black flag protest, Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi led by T Velmurugan and volunteers of the Tamizhar Vazhvuirimai Kootamaippu (TVK), an umbrella body of Tamil outfits, also held demonstrations near the airport. Besides, black balloons were also released by them. About ten volunteers of TVK climbed atop a giant billboard in the airport’s vicinity as part of the protest.
Following persuasion by police and Bharathiraja, they climbed down and were detained by police. Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi led by MLA M Thamimun Ansari, Nam Tamizhar Katchi leader Seeman and pro-Tamil leader Nedumaran wore black shirts and staged a protest demonstration in the vicinity of the airport before being detained. . According to DMK’s Subramanian, while over 2000 black balloons were released in various parts of the city, a giant balloon with slogan “Modi Go Back,” was put up on the terrace of his residence here. MDMK chief Vaiko also led a black flag cum balloon release demonstration. Traffic snarls were witnessed around the airport and in its surrounding areas due to the protests. Today’s protest comes two days after pro-Tamil outfits opposing the IPL match in the city, trying to play spoilsport over the Cauvery issue.