Kannadigas come out in support of Jallikattu stir

Tamil Nadu Police started evicting Jallikattu protesters on Monday morning.

Chennai, Jan 20:With thousands camping overnight at the Marina beach in Chennai to show their solidarity to Jallikattu, a traditional bull-taming contest, people of Bengaluru too decided to make their voice heard. Around 1,000 people, predominantly Tamils, gathered in front of Town Hall in the city on Thursday to protest against a court order that has banned the event.

The celebration of Pongal over the last few years has been becoming a controversial occasion, as most people of Tamil Nadu support the popular Jallikattu, while the courts have ordered that it be stopped. The situation has been the same this year too.

Like it happened in Chennai on Wednesday, there was no call from any specific social, political or religious group calling on the people to participate in the protest, yet professionals, software engineers and students alike joined the protest here in huge numbers and with visible enthusiasm.

The movement that started three days ago by a couple of software engineers took the form of a protest with people from across the city taking part in it.

“Since many youngsters back in Tamil Nadu are shunning food and water to protest against the ban on Jallikattu, we thought it’s time we supported the cause,” said Balaji, an organiser of the demonstration. “My friend Arun and I are not a part of any social or religious group, but the support we managed to gather is unprecedented,” he added.

The large gathering in front of Town Hall held posters and shouted slogans against the 2014 order of Supreme Court that banned the customary sport. Balaji, who is a Tamil and resides in Karnataka, said all the people who joined them in the protest were not Tamils. “Plenty of Kanadigas too were a part of it,” he said.

“Jallikattu is a years-old tradition of the Tamils and we do not want Tamil culture to be obstructed in any way. Although we had a tough a time getting permissions for the protest, once we did, we left no stone unturned to reach out to other people,” he said. With banners like the one that read ‘Ban PETA’ hand, the protestors kept shouting one slogan after the other, with some of them squatting on the stairs that lead to the entrance of Town Hall.

“Whether it is Peta or the Animal Welfare Board of India, there is no logic behind the ban on Jallikattu. It is not about Tamils alone. Others have also joined the protest because it is not only about bulls, or cockfighting that you have in Andhra. Bulls are domesticated animals, not wild animals, and that is the larger picture one needs to see,” Balaji said.
According to him, there have been a lot of reports of Peta bullying and killing animals, so “there is a need to take steps to stop this”. “We want to ban Peta because we have many reports against Peta harassing animals. The CEO of Peta is dictating to the state and Central governments and we don’t understand how they get away with this.”

 “Peta says it is only asking the people to follow the Indian Constitution that says that bulls cannot be exhibited or trained, and that they are only following orders over this by the apex court,” Balaji said.
Like most protest calls these days, this too used the social media to spread the word among people. Many groups were formed and some like #We support Jallikattu trended heavily in the social media. “The best message that came out of the protest today is that there are plenty of Kannadigas supporting Tamils in their protest over the ban on Jallikattu, and that the sport is not restricted to Tamil Nadu alone,” he added.