CHENNAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was greeted with black flags in Chennai by opposition parties and pro-Tamil outfits in Tamil Nadu who are holding protests against him. The PM is in Chennai to inaugurate the 10th edition of Defence Expo on Thursday,
The main opposition party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had on Wednesday asked people to hoist black flags atop their houses to oppose the Prime Minister's visit. DMK's working president MK Stalin appealed to people to hoist black flags and wear black badges as a mark of protest.
Among the other opposing parties, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko said his party would hold a black flag demonstration at Little Mount against Modi saying that he has "betrayed" Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue.
T Velmurugan, coordinator of Tamizhar Vazhvurimai Koottamaippu, an umbrella body of pro-Tamil outfits including 'May 17', has also announced a 'black balloon-cum-black flag' protest. As per their plan, they will release balloons at Meenambakkam in the airport's vicinity and "several other locations. The black flag protest would be held at the Alandur Metro Rail Station.
Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi chief M Thamimun Ansari said black flag demonstration would be staged at Guindy which is near the airport. Ansari said volunteers from Tamizhar Kalai Ilakkiya Panpattu Peravai, a forum of art, literary and film personalities and Cauvery Rights Retrieval Committee, would also participate. Veteran film director Bharathiraja of the Peravai confirmed participation in the black flag demonstration.
Dravidar Kazhagam said its cadres would stage a black flag demonstration at Saidapet.
In view of the protests, tight security arrangements have been put in place including a multiple-layer security ring. The PM is scheduled to formally inaugurate India's mega defence exhibition - the Defexpo- at Thiruvidanthai, about 40 km from Chennai.
The expo, which will be attended by over 670 exhibitors, including 150 from abroad, will showcase India's capability in the export of defence systems and components.
Later in the day, the PM is also scheduled to attend an event at the Adyar Cancer Institute. The visit comes on a day when Modi along with other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs are observing a day-long fast to protest against the washout of the just concluded Budget Session of Parliament.
(With agency inputs)