Thousands have gathered at Chennai’s Marina Beach to protest against the Supreme Court ban on bull-taming sport jallikattu. Protestors, who have been at the location since Tuesday night, said they will not move from the spot till the ban on the practice is revoked. The police on Wednesday baton-charged a section of protestors at Marina Beach in retaliation after they attacked officers.
State Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar held talks with the jallikattu supporters and promised them that the government would seek the president’s intervention to allow the bull-taming sport. He was accompanied by Cabinet colleague K Pandiarajan.
Jayakumar told the protestors that 50 MPs of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will “exert required pressure on the Centre” to get permission for jallikattu. After the meeting with the ministers, one of the protestors told PTI that the government had assured them of a solution.
As the number of agitators continued to increase on Wednesday, the call for a ban on animal rights NGO People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, grew, as well. PETA had hailed the court-imposed restriction on the sport.
Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has urged protestors to call off their demonstration. AIADMK said he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to push for an ordinance to allow the sport during Pongal, a five-day festival which began on January 14 this year. AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala, too, urged the Centre to promulgate an ordinance revoking the ban on jallikattu, adding that they will “adopt all legal measures to ban PETA”.
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court on Wednesday refused to interfere in the matter, saying that neither the bench nor the Tamil Nadu government could intervene as the Supreme Court was overseeing the case. “The court does not want to interfere at this stage,” the bench said, according to PTI.
Tamil Nadu has been witnessing protests for days against the restriction on the sport. On Monday, more than 500 people were detained in Madurai for trying to organise jallikattu, saying it was an integral part of Tamil culture. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders, including MK Stalin and Kanimozhi, had also led protests outside the collector’s office in Chennai.
Tamil actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan had extended their support to jallikattu, which is traditionally organised as part of the harvest festival. The Supreme Court has been hearing petitions on the sporting event since it was banned in 2014.