Jallikattu protests intensifies across Tamil Nadu, police station set on fire near Marina Beach
Chennai, Jan. 23: Protests at Chennai’s Marina Beach in support of bull-taming festival Jallikattu, turned violent today as hundreds resisted the police force in action who evicted protesters. People were injured in clashes with the police. Protesters turned stone-pelters as police used batons and tear gas to control the crowd. The protesters had also threatened to hinder the Republic Day celebrations in the wake of Jallikattu ban. Despite assurances from the Tamil Nadu Government to legalise Jallikattu, an unrelenting crowd has been refusing to pay heed as the protest in support of the bull taming sport entered sixth day.
In Chennai, people have been swelling up at the Marina Beach, the epicentre of the stir for last six days.
One of the hallmarks of this protest is the way it is being organised.The people from different communities also took part in this protest. The volunteers have been maintaining a tight vigil surrounding the area so that no loss to public property takes place.
Besides that, the protesters were constantly served refreshments by a volunteer group. As the evening approached, several protestors switched on their mobile flashlights to show support for the bull-taming sport. Amid the slogans that were heard reverberating across the area included, a permanent solution to Jallikattu and a growing call for a ban on the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), chided by the people for interfering in the cultures and traditions of Tamil Nadu.
In Madurai’ Sellur district, the protest for the traditional sport gained momentum as a train was halted by the protestors. “We have gathered here to support Jallikattu and call for a ban on the PETA. We want a permanent remedy for Jallikattu,” said Vijayalashmi, a local. “If the Centre doesn’t bring a permanent solution within this Republic Day we will take it to ourselves and conduct Jallikattu. And if we do this, even the Centre cannot stop us,” said Ramesh, a local.
Nevertheless, Jallikattu was held in many parts of the state today, even as protests continued at Madurai’s Alanganallur area, where the people refused to hold the bull-taming sport seeking a permanent solution. In Pudukottai, two people died during Jallikattu which was inaugurated by Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar. Apart from that, 129 others suffered injuries during Jallikattu event at Rapoosal village in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukkottai district.
Earlier, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam cancelled his visit to Alanganallur as protesters did not allow the sport demanding lasting solution to the issue instead of an interim ordinance. The Chief Minister also urged the people to withdraw their protest, saying that amendment bill will be introduced and passed in the state assembly. The Supreme Court earlier on Friday agreed not to deliver its verdict next week after the Centre pointed out that a decision could create law and order problems.
Jallikattu, which sees young men wrestling with a bull in an open field during the harvest festival of Pongal, was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014. Last year, the Centre allowed the sport, but that decision has been challenged in the apex court.(ANI)