Protests flared in Chennai on Tuesday as people demanding a Cauvery Management Board took to the streets against an IPL match to be played between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at night.
Even as the rival teams made it to the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium – popularly known as Chepauk Stadium – through the back gate, the complex turned into a fortress with the deployment of hundreds of police personnel, many in riot gear.
All roads leading to the stadium also came under a blanket of security to prevent anti-IPL activists from spoiling the show. Groups of protesters kept moving towards the cricket stadium from various lanes shouting slogans.
A helicopter circled the sky over the stadium.
Police took into custody members of various Tamil groups. Many raised slogans against the Modi government for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee (CWRC) as mandated by the Supreme Court.
Protests on the arterial Anna Salai threw traffic out of gear.
With the match set to start at 8 p.m., some demonstrators released black balloons into the sky in a sign of protest. Also taken into custody were some protesters who tried to lay siege to the cricket stadium.
Tamil movie celebrities like Director Bharathirajaa also hit the streets demanding justice for Tamil Nadu vis-a-vis Karnataka, the two states which are locked in a dragging row over the river water.
Police have said all spectators will be frisked thoroughly before being let into the stadium.
On Monday, authorities announced unprecedented security arrangements for the Indian Premier League (IPL) match.
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has banned spectators from bringing mobile phones, remote control car-key or any electronic devices, bags, briefcases, pagers, radios, digital diaries, laptops, computers, tape-recorders and even binoculars.
The banned list also includes musical instrument, video cameras, digital cameras, crackers, inflammable materials, firearms and ammunition, edibles, thermos flasks, water jugs, bottles, cigarettes, beedis, match boxes, lighters, razors, scissors, mirrors and glass, knifes and batteries.
The use of mobile phones, transistors, computers, cameras or any other audio visual recording equipment for recording and for communication the match details, statistics and images has also been prohibited.
Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said it was for the organisers to decide whether to cancel the match or not and it was for the people to decide whether to boycott the match or not.
On Tuesday, however, the IPL organisers decided to allow spectators to carry mobile phones into the stadium – when it became clear that a ban on mobile phone would keep people away from the complex. (IANS)