In a late night swoop, police removed eight college students who were on a fast-unto-death on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and admitted them to a hospital.
The move came amidst growing support for them from various political parties, including Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Bharatiya Janata Party, and three days after the students of Chennai-based LoyolaCollege embarked on the fast pressing for various demands including an independent probe against Colombo for alleged war crimes.
The police swooped down on the venue of protests and removed the students, police said.
Scores of supporters, who were present at the venue, were also taken into custody besides police sealing the premises, drawing criticism from MDMK founder Vaiko and others.
Vaiko decried the police denying students their democratic right to hold a fast while CPI affiliated AIYF also criticised the police action.
Vaiko was one of the first leaders to meet the students and not only encourage them for their effort but also extended his support.
Earlier, DMK chief M Karunanidhi had exhorted the students to withdraw their fast, saying youth's lives were important and asked them to resort to other forms of democratic means of protest.
BJP too had extended its support to the students.
The emotive Sri Lankan Tamils issue has gained momentum in Tamil Nadu following the alleged cold-blooded killing of slain LTTE chief V Prabakaran's 12 year-old son Balachandran, pictures relating to which had recently emerged.
Ruling AIADMK and all parties had slammed Colombo in this issue even as calls for India supporting a UNHRC resolution moved by the US including from key UPA ally DMK are being made.
DMK-backed TESO has given a strike call for Tuesday to further exert pressure on the Centre to vote in favour of the resolution.