PUDUCHERRY: The bandh, called by the AIADMK local unit of Puducherry seeking the release of the party general secretary J Jayalalithaa from Bengalore jail, evoked total response here on Saturday. The bandh passed off peacefully and over 250 activists, including five MLAs, courted arrest by staging road blockades at various places.
Police pickets were posted at various spots to thwart mischief-makers during the dawn-to-dusk bandh, which affected movement of the tourists and the public.
The bandh affected normal life with shops and markets remaining closed and vehicles off roads.
Police arrested nearly 76 activists, led by AIADMK local unit wing secretary and MLA P Purushothaman, for staging a road blockade near the new bus-stand. Another group, led by four MLAs A Anbazhagan, Om Shakthi Sekar, L Periasamy and Baskar, blocked Anna Salai and courted arrest.
Though some of the shops and eateries were open early in the morning, the shop owners decided to close them down, fearing violence.
Almost all shops and markets remained shut on Nehru Street, Anna Salai, Mission Street and the usually-busy shopping areas were deserted. The markets at Nellithope and Periyakadai did not function. Most of the petrol bunks did not operate and cinema theatres suspended the morning and matinee shows.
According to residents, the shops on the outskirts such as Bahour, Villianur, Kirumampakkam too downed shutters.
Vehicular traffic was reduced with only tourists, private vehicles and two-wheelers. The private buses, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, State Express Transport Corporation and Puducherry Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) buses did not operate. The bus-stand wore a deserted look.
According to police, one Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation bus was damaged near Marapalam, Mudaliarpet. A few autorickshaws operated and tried to make most of the situation by fleecing the tourists.
Tourists, who thronged the various spots in Puducherry in large numbers because of the long holiday, had a tough time finding transport and reached various places by foot.