Farmers and opposition parties in Tamil Nadu today staged rail roko agitation at various places in the state demanding the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board immediately. The protests were held against the stance of BJP-led Union government in the Supreme Court which opposed immediate setting up of the Board. Thousands of protestors participated in the rail roko demonstrations, who courted arrest and were lodged in the community and marriage halls, police said, adding they were likely to be released later today. The agitations marked the beginning of a 48-hour rail blockade by farmers outfits which has the support of opposition parties including the DMK, Tamil Nadu Congress, IUML, CPI(M), CPI, MDMK and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi. Farmer leader and chief of National South Indian Rivers Inter-Linking Farmers Association P Ayyakannu led the protest in Tiruchirappalli by squatting over the railway track in Kudamuratti bridge area. Ryots squatted on railway tracks with green turbans and planted paddy seedlings in the narrow gap between railway tracks. They managed to block trains briefly but were removed later by police. "We will continue our stir. Tomorrow too this will be held.
We plan to block Vaigai Super Fast Express. We urge the Centre to not make us paupers, (by adopting a stance against CMB)" Ayyakannu told PTI. Similar protests witnessed huge participation of people in the entire Cauvery Delta region of the state including Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts. DMK treasurer and Leader of Opposition M K Stalin led the protest at Perambur suburban railway station here in which scores of his party legislators and functionaries took part. Leading the protestors, he blocked a suburban train, following which he along with party cadres was taken away by police from the railway station. MDMK chief Vaiko and CPI(M) State Secretary G Ramakrishnan squatted on railway track at the busy Chennai Central Railway station. Similarly, CPI State Secretary R Mutharasan participated in a rail roko stir in Tiruvarur district.
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