Amid clamouring protests, thousands of people descended on Marina beach on Wednesday as they vehemently demanded lifting of the ban on bull-taming sport Jallikattu. Faced with mounting pressure, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today got into a huddle with the state authorities and decided to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an ordinance to allow the age-old sport. The chief minister will be reportedly accompanied by 51 MPs of the AIADMK. According to TV reports, some colleges will remain shut owing to protests.
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Meanwhile, the Madras High Court has refused to ‘interfere’ on the issue, holding that the Supreme Court
was apprised of the matter. The court made this observation when a mention was made by an advocate K Balu in the open court about the protests at the Marina on the Jallikattu issue.
He brought to the court’s notice disconnection of power supply in the area when a “peaceful demonstration” was
going on Tuesday evening. Besides, drinking water was not provided to protesters, he complained. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice M Sundar, declined to “interfere in the matter at this stage.”
The epicentre of protests seemed to have shifted to the state’s capital with thousands of youths assembling on Marina beach arguing that the age-old sport symbolised Tamil culture. Although sporadically, ‘jallikattu’ events were reported from Sivaganga, Madurai, and Pattukottai. Meanwhile, crowds continued to swell at Alanganallur and Tamukkam grounds in Madurai. The police has arrested over 200 protesters so far.
Animal rights organisation PeTA was the target of attack by protesters. PeTA has been rallying hard against the sport citing animal rights abuse. Tension ran high when three students attempted to set themselves on fire at Tamukkam grounds which was eventually foiled by police. Information Technology employees also joined the protests by forming human chains and staging protests in the vicinity of their workplaces. Seven activists of a pro-Tamil outfit climbed the historic Pamban railway bridge in Rameswaram and held a dharna. When they were removed by police, they threatened to jump into the sea and commit suicide if they were arrested.
Tension prevailed in Kandipatti village in Sivaganga where ‘Manju Virattu’ (bull chasing) was organised with 100 bulls. Police baton-charged to disperse the participants. However, the protesters allegedly attacked police with stones damaging a police vehicle and reinforcements were sent to bring the situation under control. At Pasukaranpatti in Madurai district, organisers released many bulls with prize money attached to their horns on the road leaving it to youths to tame them and take the prize money. Similar events were held near Pattukottai in which 30 bulls participated.
Leading film personalities such as actors Vijay, Simbu, Surya and directors Ameer, Karthik Subbaraj expressed their solidarity with protesters through various video messages. As the number of protesters steadily grew in number, a senior police official expressed serious concern saying the movement is leading to a law and order situation. He said the police cannot let such a huge crowd to remain there for one more day, adding that he hopes some political decisions from the government will soon settle the issue.
(With PTI and ENS inputs)