Chennai: Life virtually came to a grinding halt here as the city woke up to deserted streets with shops, including eateries, remaining shut in the wake of the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Public transport services, including autorickshaws, were off the roads while some private vehicles were seen plying in various parts of the city where police personnel kept a tight vigil at vantage points. A near total shutdown like situation prevailed in the city and several other parts of the state since last evening itself.
The focus on Tuesday turned to Rajaji Hall where Jayalalithaa’s body is lying in state to enable public pay their homage. With even tea stalls, which usually do a brisk business in the early hours, remaining closed, mobile tea vendors could be seen dispensing the brew at some places. Hotels are also closed.
Suburban train services, however, were being operated in the city, albeit with lower passenger rush. Long distance trains arriving at Chennai Central and Egmore stations were on time.
The state government has declared a holiday today for its offices and three-days for educational institutions as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
Meanwhile, the Tamil film industry announced cancellation of shootings scheduled for Tuesday. Theatres also cancelled shows.
Madurai city mourned Jayalalithaa’s death with all shops closed and transport facilities including buses and auto rickshaws off the roads. “The entire city is calm…silent..,” a police official said.
Officials said those who reached Madurai by train and flight this morning took private transport to reach home. The main bus stands wore a deserted look. Inter-state and long distance government buses bound here from various destinations, including from Kerala and Karnataka did not arrive as they had been stopped at the borders.
Fishermen colonies mourned the death of Jayalalithaa in Tuticorin, Rameswaram and Kanyakumari. Police said there was no untoward incident in the region. Meanwhile, a report from Coimbatore said all shops, commercial establishments, tourist spots remained closed in this and neighbouring Tirupur and Nilgiris districts as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
Transport facilities like buses and auto rickshaws stayed off the roads in these districts, where a bandh like situation prevailed, police said. Buses from neighbouring Kerala and Karnataka stopped plying to Tamil Nadu, fearing violence.
AIADMK workers were seen paying homage to the portraits of their “AMMA” by erecting pandals at road sides across these districts, even as adequate police forces were deployed to meet any eventuality.
In Puducherry, a bandh-like situation prevailed in the union territory with all shops and commercial establishments remaining closed as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
All inter-state and intra state government buses and autos were off the roads with the fleet operators deciding to suspend transport services. Cinema houses also cancelled their morning shows.
Banks were also closed following an order issued by the Chief Secretary of Puducherry Manoj Parida declaring public holiday today, under Negotiable Instruments Act.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister of Puducherry N Rangasamy (AINRC) who condoled the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s death, said, as an “iron lady” she persisted in procuring justice to the downtrodden and the have-nots. He conveyed his condolences to the rank and file of the AIADMK.
CPI Puducherry unit Secretary R Viswanathan expressed grief over the death of Jayalalithaa and recalled the various progressive measures she had implemented during her tenure with relentless courage, perseverance and uncompromising zeal.