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Last updated: 01 February, 2009 - Published 16:21 GMT
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Hartal for Lankan Tamils 'illegal'

Chief Minister Karunanidhi
TN government has closed all colleges indefinitely
The government of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has declared that a 'total strike' (Hartal) call in support of the demand for cease-fire in Sri Lanka illegal.

Some political parties and Tamil nationalist organisations have banded together to form the Lankan Tamil Protection Movement and given a call for total strike on 04 February.

Responding to the call the state government said the country's Supreme Court has declared all such total strikes, meaning essentially closure of shops and ceasing of vehicular transport, as illegal.

In the circumstances, the government would ensure normal life is not disrupted or people put to hardship because of the strike call, it was stated in a communiqué issued in Chennai.

Colleges closed

The statement also says pre-emptive measures would be taken, perhaps meaning strike leaders could be taken into custody.

The government in the state is led by the DMK which has always associated itself with cease-fire calls.

But apparently it does not want to be blamed for possible disruption of law and order consequent on Hartal calls and hence such statements, it is felt.

The state has been witnessing a spate of activities, in support of the Lankan Tamils, in recent months.

A few days ago Muthukumar, a young man, committed self-immolation, denouncing the federal government for its "failure to press the Lankan government for a cease-fire."

Demonstrations are intensifying in the wake of the self-immolation.

The government has also announced indefinite closure of all colleges in the state fearing student protests over the issue.

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