Chennai: As students protest over Sri Lankan Tamils issue gained momentum with a massive agitation involving one crore students proposed for next week, colleges in Tamil Nadu were directed to remain closed from today till further orders.
Though there was no written communication in this regard to educational institutions or the media, government sources said oral instructions had been issued asking colleges, mainly arts and science, to close down till further orders.
Various student groups have been holding a series of protests including hunger strike pressing for demands including an independent probe against Colombo for alleged war crimes.
Intensifying their protests, a student body yesterday announced a relay slogan raising protest involving about one crore students had been planned for March 20.
Dinesh, Coordinator of Federation of Students for Liberation of Tamil Eelam, said students will boycott classes that day and that they planned to rope in their counterparts from schools also.
In Coimbatore, Bharathiar University was indefinitely closed from today in the wake of growing participation of students in the anti-Sri Lanka protests.
The administration asked its students to vacate hostel rooms, university sources said.
Over 300 students, including some law students, were on a fast here for the past three days even as the number across the state has been swelling over the past one week.
About 100 activists were arrested for trying to stage an agitation near the General Post Office here. They burnt effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and others, police said.
Meanwhile, the wholesale vegetable supplier to Chennai, the Koyambedu Market, will down shutters on March 19 in solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils.
Two students, on a fast-unto death in the MDMK office at Coimbatore, were hospitalised after they were indisposed.
Students of city-based Loyola College last week embarked on a fast-unto-death demanding an independent probe against Sri Lankan Government for alleged war crimes, with more students joining protests through the week. Some student bodies have also called for a referendum for Tamil Eelam or a separate homeland for Tamils.
A statement from Chennai Koyambedu Vegetable-Fruits-Flower Vendors Federation said it has been decided to close the shops protesting the killing of innocent Tamils by the Rajapakse Government (in the final leg of Ealam War).
Sources in the market, billed as the biggest wholesale outlet in Asia, told PTI that trade to the volume of around Rs 150 crore will be affected with nearly 6,000 shops scheduled to remain closed for a day.
Source: Press Trust of India