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Cricket Stadium turned into security fortress, VCK, TVK cadres held



Chennai, With a couple of hours left for the start of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) first IPL home game against KKR, more than 100 activists of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Tamizhaga Vaazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) were arrested when they attempted to lay siege to the M A Chidambaram stadium, as part of their prortests on the Cauvery issue. As the Centre failed to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery water Regualtory Committee (CWRC) as directed by the Supreme Court following objections from Karnataka where Assembly election would be held next month, large scale protests broke out across Tamil Nadu ever since the six week deadline ended on March 29. Amid intensifying protests, which were being held in various forms by the Opposition parties, Tamil organisations, students and fringe outfits condemning the Centre for not setting up the CMB and CWRC, parties like TVK and other organisations demanded that the IPL matches should not be held in the city at a time when the state was witnessing protests to secure its rights on the Cauvery issue. They said the IPL matches, which returns to the city after a gap of two years, should be shifted to other venue to express solidarity with the farmers.TVK leader T Velmurugan also issued open threat to CSK cricketers if the match was held in the city. The stadium has been turned into a veritable security fortress with more than 4,000 policemen deployed on duty.A four-tier security arrangement was put in place and the spectators were allowed only after thorough frisking. In this backdrop, about 100 activists of VCK first attempted to march towards the stadium, but were detained by the police. They shouted slogans denouncing the Centre for not setting up the CMB.Even as VCK cadres were arrested on one side of the stadium, about 100 TVK workers assembled near Anna Salai and tried to take out a march to the cricket stadium. They released black balloons to express their condemnation to the Centre for betraying Tamil Nadu's interests on the emotive Cauvery issue and also shouted slogans demanding immediate setting up of CMB and CWRC. They were arrested and taken in a waiting bus. Meanwhile, the newly-formed Tamil Panpaattu Peravai, by a section of Tamil film industry led by filmmakers Bharathiraja, Ameer, R K Selvamani and V Sekar, said they would assemble near the Anna statue and stage a protest demonstration. 'How can we celebrate when there is grief in our house?', they asked and wanted the IPL match should be moved out of the city. They said if the went ahead, they would stage a massive protest near the stadium. Earlier in the day, a group of TVK workers were arrested when they attempted the lock the gates of the TNCA office on the V?ictoria Hostel Road.

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