Chennai: Pro-Tamil outfits and student groups on Monday stepped up protests in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry demanding the Centre to boycott next week Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka over the Lankan Tamils issue.
Two Union ministers joined the chorus with Jayanthi Natarajan and V Narayanasamy coming out openly opposing India`s participation and thus joining their Cabinet colleague GK Vasan, who had been stridently demanding the Prime Minister to keep away from the meet.
As a part of protests, local EMU (Electrical Multiple Unit) trains bound for Beach were blocked by school and college students at the busy suburban Tambaram railway station here this morning.
Jayanthi Natarajan, speaking to reporters at the airport here, said, "I have already expressed my opinion. Due to the atrocities perpetrated against Tamils there and owing to the strong sentiments of Tamils, our Prime Minister must not go to Sri Lanka. I am going to appeal to him."
Representing Puducherry which has substantial Tamil population, Narayanasamy said majority of Congress ministers and MPs from Tamil Nadu do not want the Prime Minister to participate in the CHOGM.
"Some ministers have met the Prime Minister insisting that he should not attend the meeting while few others have not met. But the majority opinion is that he should not visit Sri Lanka," he said.
"I have conveyed my opinion to the Prime Minister that he should not visit Sri Lanka," Narayanasamy said.
Holding placards, students squatted on the railway track shouting slogans against Lanka and the Centre.
A torch rally of students began in Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli District urging the Centre to boycott "out and out" the meet in the Island Nation. The protesting students, who were on their way to Thanjavur were arrested in Kanyakumari.
Another group of students who tried to embark on a torch rally also to Thanjavur were detained by police near Chepauk here.