The Wallajah Road appeared like a fortress on Tuesday afternoon as it came under thick security cover after cadres of some fringe political parties and a group from the Tamil film industry gathered to protest against the conduct of the IPL match and demanding the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB). The police had to resort to lathi charge to bring the situation under control.
Over 4,000 policemen were deployed around the MA Chidambaram stadium as protests were anticipated a few hours before the start of the IPL match between the Chennai Super Kings, the home team, and the Kolkatta Knight Riders.
However, the protests started from Tuesday morning itself, as cadres of the Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) attempted to lock the Gopalan Gate of the stadium. They were detained. Over 150 activists of the TVK were also taken into custody near Bells Road when they attempted to proceed towards the stadium.
Around 4.45 p.m, around 30 cadres of the Tamilaga Ezhuchi Iyyakam attempted to stage a road roko on T.T.K Road, a route that the IPL players were to take to reach the stadium. They were also arrested. Around 5 p.m., cadres claiming to be from Rajini Narpani Mandram staged a demonstration near the stadium and distributed black tags carrying a message about the constitution of the CMB.
Wallajah Road blocked
On the Wallajah Road-Anna Salai junction, protests started around 4 p.m with TVK leader shouting slogans against the conduct of the IPL match. Other political leaders including Seeman of Naam Thamizhar Katchi and Thamimun Ansari of Manidhaneya Jananayaga Katchi joined the agitation.
Tamil film directors led by Mr. Bharathiraja who represented Tamizhar Kalai Ilakkiya Panpaattu Peravai also joined the demonstration waving what they claimed was the ‘Tamil Nadu’ flag.
The situation soon went out of control as cadres from the Socialist Democratic Party of India gathered on Anna Salai and blocked the road. They also indulged in the sloganeering against the IPL and the Central government.
The police tried to control the protesters, who tried to proceed towards the stadium from Anna Salai, using ropes and barricades. However, they managed to push their way through and started running on the road.
Though they were stopped near the Triplicane police station, the situation turned hostile after the police resorted to a lathi charge. The leaders and party cadres took to their heels and some of them were injured in the melee.
The situation was brought under control after the police held a meeting with the party leaders. By 6.30 p.m, around 780 persons courted arrest. They were kept in marriage halls and stadiums at four locations.
Immediately after cadres started assembling on Anna Salai, traffic was thrown out of gear on the arterial stretch and the adjoining road. The Wallajah Road was thrown open to public only around 7 p.m. Bus services were affected on Anna Salai and many opted to travel by MRTS.