Two Union Ministers joined the chorus with Jayanthi Natarajan and V Narayanasamy coming out openly opposing India's participation and thus joining their Cabinet colleague GK Vasan, who had been stridently demanding the Prime Minister to keep away from the meet.

As a part of protests, local EMU (Electrical Multiple Unit) trains bound for Beach were blocked by school and college students at the busy suburban Tambaram railway station on Monday morning.

Jayanthi Natarajan, speaking to reporters at the airport here, said, "I have already expressed my opinion. Due to the atrocities perpetrated against Tamils there and owing to the strong sentiments of Tamils, our Prime Minister must not go to Sri Lanka. I am going to appeal to him."

Representing Puducherry which has substantial Tamil population, Narayanasamy said majority of Congress ministers and MPs from Tamil Nadu do not want the Prime Minister to participate in the CHOGM.

"Some ministers have met the Prime Minister insisting that he should not attend the meeting while few others have not met. But the majority opinion is that he should not visit Sri Lanka," he said.

"I have conveyed my opinion to the Prime Minister that he should not visit Sri Lanka," Narayanasamy said.

Holding placards, students squatted on the railway track shouting slogans against Lanka and the Centre.

A torch rally of students began in Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli District urging the Centre to boycott "out and out" the meet in the Island Nation. The protesting students, who were on their way to Thanjavur were arrested in Kanyakumari.

Another group of students who tried to embark on a torch rally also to Thanjavur were detained by police near Chepauk here.

Pro-Tamil leader Pazha Nedumaran urged the State government to release the students detained in Chennai, Nilgiris, Kanyakumari, Virudhunagar and Dharmapuri who were on their way to Thanjavur as part of torch rallies.

"This goes against the spirit of the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution. The students should be allowed to proceed on their propaganda campaign," he said.

The students were scheduled to arrive at Thanjavur where a memorial for the Tamil victims of war in the Island Nation, 'Mullivaykkal Ninaivu Mutram,' was slated to be inaugurated in Thanjavur on November 8 followed by seminars on November 9 and 10, he noted.

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi cadres held a protest demonstration in Coimbatore and burnt an effigy of Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapaksa and asked the Centre "to keep off Colombo".

In Puducherry, cadres of outfits including Naam Tamizhar Katchi held road blockades and protest meetings urging the UT government to adopt a resolution on the lines of Tamil Nadu urging the Centre to boycott the Colombo meet.

Actor-turned-politician and MLA R Sarathkumar said his party would stage agitations on November 8 in Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, a petition was filed by an individual Immanuel in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court praying for a direction to the Centre to refrain from participating in the CHOGM.

However, another Congress leader from Tamil Nadu and Minister of State for Commerce S Natchiappan struck a discordant note, saying the Prime Minister should visit Sri Lanka for the welfare of the Tamils there.

Some officials of the External Affairs Ministry also favoured the Prime Minister's visit.

As many 45 persons belonging to different pro-Tamil outfits were on Monday arrested for attempting to picket trains and bus-stand at Tirupur near Coimbatore and Udhagamandalam, demanding boycott of the CHOGM.

(Agencies)

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