TTV Dinakaran, the supremo of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), was on Tuesday morning detained for allegedly attempting to gherao (lay a siege to) the Tiruchirappalli International Airport at Trichy in Tamil Nadu.
The former AIADMK leader has been protesting on the Cauvery issue since last week. He had announced his plan to lead a farmers’ march till Trichy airport.
“Not less than 5,000 farmers will participate in the march,” an aide of Dinakaran reportedly said.
At Trichy, the police detained several of his supporters and members of his new party. Dinakaran’s attempt can be seen as one of the many aimed at sending a message to the Centre.
The 54-year-old MLA from RK Nagar constituency is one of the many prominent Tamil leaders who are protesting against the AIADMK-government in the state and the NDA government at the Centre condemning both for failing to form the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) in spite of a Supreme Court order.
A Jayalalithaa loyalist, Dinakaran had also started a hunger strike on 25 March – four days before the six-week deadline for the Centre expired – demanding the constitution of the CMB.
His detention comes a day before the city witnesses a public address by Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan, who, too, has been protesting over the Cauvery issue.
Among those at the forefront of the protests has been the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The party’s working president MK Stalin was detained by the police on Sunday after he and other leaders from various political parties staged a protest over the Cauvery water sharing issue and the failure in the formation of the CMB.
Congress leader S Thirunavukkarasar, chief of Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) T Velmurugan and other leaders were detained along with Stalin.
Protests intensified on Monday across Tamil Nadu when hundreds came out in protests in Chennai, Coimbatore and other cities.
Led by DMK, the protesters reportedly blocked roads in Chennai. Among the protesters were farmers and members of other fringe outfits. The police detained around 200 supporters of the party.
The DMK had also demanded a no-confidence motion in the Parliament to pressure the Centre but the AIADMK did not support it.
The ruling AIADMK had on 31 March filed a contempt petition against the Centre accusing it of “wilful disobedience” and deliberate delaying of the implementation of the Supreme Court order.
But the Centre, too, had moved the apex court a day before seeking a clarification and asking for three months for implementing its judgment in view of the May assembly elections in Karnataka.
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the contempt petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government against the Centre over the non-formation of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that the court understands the problems of the state, which has been involved in a decades-long dispute over the sharing of the river water with Karnataka.
The apex court will hear the petition on 9 April.