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Mullaperiyar row: DMK leaders step up pressure

Dec 12, 2011 10:07 AM IST Politics Politics

Chennai: DMK leaders have begun a day-long fast in Chennai over the row between Kerala and Tamil Nadu on the Mullaperiyar Dam. The leaders were protesting against Kerala's demand to build a new dam.

Kerala has been asking for the new dam citing security concerns. A special Assembly session was also called on Friday to discuss the issue.

Tamil actor and DMK leader Khushboo was also one of those taking part in the agitation. "This fasting is for the Mullaperiyar Dam. We want to send across a message that Mullaperiyar is safe. We are equally concerned for the people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu," Khushboo said.

The party executives had met last week and decided to form human chains across several districts in Tamil Nadu to protest against Kerala's demand to build a new dam.

With these protest, the DMK is hoping to show that it's not just the ruling AIADMK that favours the existing dam in Kerala, which is a lifeline for three districts in Tamil Nadu.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj.

Tamil Nadu wants the dam's storage capacity to be increased from the current 136 feet (41.5 metres) to 142 feet (43 metres) as per a Supreme Court order, while Kerala wants a new dam in its place.

On December 9, the Kerala assembly passed a resolution that the central government should sanction a new dam and till this happens, the storage level in the existing dam should be brought down to 120 feet.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday announced that a special session of the assembly will be convened on December 15 to pass a resolution that the state will not give up its rights over Mullaperiyar Dam in Kerala because of the "imaginary threat to its safety."

Earlier, 50 persons were injured on Sunday when police made a lathicharge to disperse protesters who gheraoed Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and allegedly threw slippers at him at the state border near Kumili after he tried to persuade them to give up their agitation on the Mullaperiyar dam issue.

Police said the minister escaped unhurt and was later taken away from the spot via another route.

(With additional information from PTI)