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Ahead of Jayalalithaa’s bail plea hearing, protests abound in Tamil Nadu

As the Karnataka High Court decides today whether AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa deserves bail in the 18-year-old disproportionate assets case, anxiety and tension prevails among the AIADMK cadre, who are putting up road blocks, organising dharnas, fasting, and conducting poojas for their leader’s release.
Meanwhile, private schools in Tamil Nadu have withdrawn their scheduled one day strike today seeking the release of the former chief minister who was jailed late last month on corruption charges. Earlier, about 12,000 schools in the state decided to close today, triggering angry reactions from parents as well as politicians.

School administrators have said they are participating in a hunger strike in Chennai today. 

One of the biggest vegetables, fruits and flowers markets in Asia – the Chennai Koyambedu market — stayed closed today demanding the release of Jayalaithaa. About 4,000 shops were shut while 8,000 employees participated in a hunger strike. Residents of Madurai were also deprived of their daily quota of vegetables as the market remained closed. 

A few AIADMK party workers decided to undertake a 350km ‘spiritual journey’ by walking from Chennai to Parapana Agrahara central prison, where Jayalalithaa and the other three convicted in the wealth case are lodged. 

AIADMK cadres continued to stage demonstrations to convey their angst in various parts of the Southern Tamil Nadu. In Coimbatore, representatives of 22 government employee associations staged a hunger strike at Gandhipuram. Former MPs and MLAs participated in the protest. 

Tension and protest continues to prevail in the Tamil Nadu–Karnataka border town of Hosur.

In Tuticorin, AIADMK fishermen protested in mid-sea. They threw the effigy of Subramanian Swamy, who initiated the case against Jayalalithaa, into the sea and hanged the effigy of DMK Supermo M Karunanidhi from a boat. Fishermen in Rameswaram and Pamban went on an indefinite strike and in the hill station of Kodaikanal, shops and establishments were closed which affected, according to reports.

In Bangalore, anticipating a large presence of AIADMK cadre, the city police has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 in a one kilometre radius around the Karnataka High Court and around the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison.

Reports quoting Bangalore Police Commissioner M N Reddi said that security had been tightened and over 2,000 personnel led by a Joint Commissioner would be deployed at both places. 

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