Twenty two activists of Periyar Dravida Kazhakam were arrested in Coimbatore today when they allegedly attempted to lay siege to a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus at the bus stand, to protest the “attitude” of the Kerala government on the Mullaperiyar issue. Twentytwo cadres of the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK), led by its general secretary K. Ramakiruttinan, were arrested when they picketed Kerala state road transport corporation (KSRTC) buses in front of Gandhipuram state express transport corporation bus stand.

The activists raised slogans against the Kerala government and wanted it to abide by the Supreme Court decision on the issue and also to drop its demand to construct a new dam at Mullaperiyar, police said. However, they were arrested before they could near the bus, police said. Kerala has been demanding that the Center intervene immediately to persuade Tamil Nadu to agree to its proposal of a new dam, holding that the present 116-year-old structure poses a threat to nearly three million people, mainly in Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts.

Mr Ramakiruttinan said he would mobilize people from all parties and prevent vehicles carrying essential commodities like milk and vegetables to Kerala via K.G. Chavadi if the Kerala government fails to give up the idea of constructing a new dam. Posters on a few KSRTC buses from Trichur and Kochi, which said there was a threat to the dam in the backdrop of frequent tremors in Idukki district, were removed.

However, Tamil Nadu is opposed to it, asserting that the reservoir “is as safe and good as new” and has accused Kerala of whipping up a fear psychosis.