Tamil Nadu traders’ chief held for forcing shutdown
Vellaiyyan, the president of a federation of traders’ associations,
was arrested in Chennai yesterday for forcing establishments to down
their shutters in the state to seek the central government’s
intervention to end attacks in Sri Lanka, police said.
A top police official said that the federation was forcing the
closure of shops and eateries with the help of pro-LTTE political
parties, leading to Vellaiyyan’s arrest.
Members of the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that
the federation was forcing traders to close their shops. Vellaiyyan had
however claimed before his arrest that over 5,500 of its affiliated
bodies comprising 2.5 million members were voluntarily participating in
Most shops were closed not only all over Tamil Nadu but also in the
neighbouring union territory of Puducherry Friday. The protest was
backed by Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, an ally of the ruling DMK and
several trade union federation members.
Vellaiyyan had justified the protest during an interaction with
reporters Thursday, saying the shutdown was being necessitated because
the ruling DMK MPs’ threat to resign from parliament lapsed without any
results and the killings in Sri Lanka have continued unabated.
The Tamil Nadu government, meanwhile, said in a press release that no
individual or private organisation was authorised to collect relief
materials for Sri Lankan Tamils.