THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the health condition of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa worsening, the police stepped up security along the Kerala - Tamil Nadu border areas while the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has cut short many schedules to Tamil Nadu. State police chief Loknath Behera directed all district police chiefs, mainly in the districts bordering Tamil Nadu, to deploy more police personnel along the border areas as well as localities where Tamilians were staying in large numbers.
The police personnel were directed to curb chances of Jayalalithaa’s supporters going on a rampage or indulging in emotional acts like self-immolation. The state police chief also directed the police personnel to enhance checking in border areas to curb chances of carrying weapons or explosives across the border. The strength of police personnel at border roads has been increased and vehicles moving to Tamil Nadu were made aware of the situation there.
“We can’t forcibly restrict anyone from moving to Tamil Nadu, but could also advise them about the potential dangers,” said a district police chief. Meanwhile, many services of KSRTC to Nagercoil and Thenkashi routes were stopped at Parassala and Aryankavu respectively. KSRTC executive director (operations) P M Sharaf Muhammed said that none of the 150 odd-services to Tamil Nadu were cancelled. But many services had to be stopped at the border on the advice of police.
Private buses operating inter-state services have cancelled all services to Tamil Nadu on Monday and many buses operating to Karnataka via Nagercoil have diverted the service through Kasargod and Wayanad routes. The railway authorities are also reviewing the situations. Additional Railway Protection Force personnel were deployed in some trains towards Tamil Nadu in the evening following reports in a section of media that Jayalalithaa died.
Life hit in border towns, students return from Tamil Nadu
A hartal-like situation prevailed at Kaliyikkavila on the Tamil Nadu- Thiruvananthapuram border with life coming to a standstill around 6 p.m. after some Tamil news channels erroneously flashed the news that Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had passed away. The private vehicles from the capital to Tamil Nadu were stopped at checkposts in the evening by Kerala police and were advised to return. Those who wanted to proceed were allowed to continue the journey.
Shops were closed down on the border and in Nagercoil within five minutes of the flash news and AIDMK workers had peacefully assembled on the streets. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation concluded all its interstate operation at Parassala on the Kerala side of the border by 11a.m. Similar was the case in Aryankavu depot and all KSRTC buses from as far as Thenkasi were instructed to return to their bases by 11a.m.
Thousands of students from Thiruvananathapuram who study at engineering colleges and polytechnic colleges in Tamil Nadu could not go to colleges. Those staying in hostels returned home and classes were cancelled by afternoon. Many Malayalis staying at Kumarakovil, Parvatipuram, Padmanabhapuram and Thuckalay also returned home based on reports that normal life will remain disrupted in the neighbouring state.
In the evening, some Tamil Nadu Road Transport Corporation buses that were running in Nagercoil and Tirunelveli districts ended operation at the nearest depots. “I went to my polytechnic by 7a.m. and had to return. It was informed that there won’t be classes tomorrow also,” said Arjun S. Nair, a student of Thuckalay-based college. Business men who have stakes across the border also were in a state of confusion. “I had some job at the Malaysian consulate in Tamil Nadu but none is picking up the phone,” said M. Akhil, a businessman.
KSRTC redirects services, stops plying via Salem
Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has stopped plying bus services through the Salem-Coimbatore stretch by Monday evening as a precautionary measure to preempt attacks by AIADMK supporters in the wake of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s health condition remaining critical. “A total of nine buses from Bangalore to various places in the state via the Salem-Coimbatore route were redirected via Mysore. The step was taken due to the tense situation prevailing there,” said a senior KSRTC official.
Meanwhile, the buses to Bangalore from various depots like Ernakulam proceeded through the normal route on Monday evening. “However, they will further conduct service from the border only upon getting a nod from the police there,” he said. The Karnataka Road State Transport Corporation too suspended its bus services through Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, several trains through Palghat got delayed by upto three hours on Monday....