Tamil film industry to protest Karnataka stand

April 3rd, 2008 - 9:10 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Chennai, April 3 (IANS) The stage is set for a protest by the Tamil Nadu film industry against neighbouring Karnataka’s opposition to a water project near the interstate border. The decision to hold protests and a fast was taken jointly by the Film Chamber, Tamil Film Producers Council, the Film Employees Federation of South India and other film industry unions.

A big stage has been set up in Chepauk, near Chennai’s famous cricket stadium, metal detectors installed and sniffer dogs deployed as security has been stepped up in the area and traffic detours have been put in place.

“All technicians and artists of the Tamil film industry who are of Karnataka origin must also participate in the protest,” Sarath Kumar, actor-turned-politician and president of the South Indian Film Artistes Association, said here Thursday.

“Failure to do so will lead to non-cooperation from the industry here. Even those involved in shooting in other places and abroad must cancel their schedule to take part in the protest,” he added.

All eyes are on superstar Rajnikant, who was born and brought up in Bangalore. Rajnikant is expected to take part in the fast in the morning while Kamal Haasan is expected to join later in the day. Ajit and Vishal have cancelled their shootings abroad to reach Chennai in time for the protest.

The Theatre Owners Association decided to cancel the morning and noon shows in 120 theatres across the city Friday.

“Those who have booked tickets in advance for the show will be refunded,” said association president Abirami Ramanathan.

Shootings too have been cancelled for Friday. “AVM Studio will be closed Friday and no shootings would be held,” A.V.M. Saravanan has said.

The Rs.13.3 billion Hogenekkal Water Supply and Flurosis Mitigation Project, funded by Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), is expected to cover 6,755 households in three municipal areas, 17 panchayats and 18 small towns, in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu, benefiting about three million people.

Karnataka is opposed to the project, saying its share of the Cauvery waters will be affected.

“Token protests” were staged in Chennai and other places in Tamil Nadu Thursday against Kannadiga-run restaurants and other establishments.

In Chennai, pro-Tamil outfits Pattali Makkal Katchi and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi staged protests at crowded K.K. Nagar and T. Nagar areas.

Reports from Hosur on the Karnataka border said 44 people were arrested when they tried to block a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation bus.

Special Police teams continued patrol the inter-state border.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi denied he ever used “harsh words” against Karnataka.

Karunanidhi Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, saying: “As a person who has understood me fully well, I am quite sure, you will not believe or even imagine that such provocative words would have been uttered by me”.

He was referring to Karnataka Congress leader S.M. Krishna’s complaint Wednesday to the prime minister on “the harsh language” used by him.

“You will agree with me that no one can misinterpret my words if one goes through my speech very carefully,” Karunanidhi said.

“A chief minister of a state cannot keep quiet when in a neighbouring state buses from Tamil Nadu are burnt, Tamil cinema houses are ransacked, the Tamil Sangam office at Bangalore is attacked, and Tamils in that state are kept in constant fear.”

Karunanidhi hoped that Manmohan Singh and Gandhi “would appreciate the just cause for which Tamil Nadu has been fighting within in the democratic and constitutional framework”.

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