CHENNAI: Protests rocked different parts of Tamil Nadu for the second day today against the capital punishment awarded by a Sri Lankan court to five Indian fishermen for alleged drug trafficking.
A fishermen's association at Rameswaram announced that they would go on an 'indefinite strike' till the Indian government went for an appeal in a higher court against the death sentence awarded to the five fishermen.
Protesting fishermen lifted blockades in Rameswaram following assurances from Ramanathapuram MP Anwar Raajha, Collector Nanda Kumar and police officials who held talks with them.
The officials assured leaders of the fishermen communities that appeal would be made in the case and that the Centre had also had expressed the view that the fishermen were innocent.
Meanwhile, protests were held in various areas in Chennai, Kumbakonam and Tuticorin by fringe Tamil outfits.
Pro-Tamil groups tried to lay a siege to the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai, but police foiled their attempt. Around 200 activists were detained, police said.
The angry protestors burnt effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, condemning the death penalty to the fishermen hailing from the state. Protests were also held outside the office of Sri Lankan Airways here.
Small political outfits burned effigies of Rajapaksa and Sri Lankan national flags in Kumbakonam and Tuticorin respectively, police said. Advocates boycotted court proceedings in Kumbakonam.
Meanwhile, security was stepped up for Sri Lankan assets here, including the Mahabodhi Society, Sri Lankan Airways and Bank of Ceylon, among others.
DMK president M Karunanidhi said since the fishermen had been allowed time till November 14 to appeal in the Supreme Court, the Centre should immediately contact Sri Lankan government and pave the way for their release.