The Chennai Police on Saturday night imposed Section 144, which prevents the assembly of more than 10 people in a public space, in Marina Beach and the Foreshore Estate area. The order will be in place till February 12, The Times of India reported. The police’s prohibitory order comes soon after jallikattu agitations in the state grew violent in some areas. The order applies to areas within the jurisdiction of D5 Marina, E1 Mylapore, D3 Ice House, E5 Foreshore Estate, D1 Triplicane and D6 Anna Square police stations, a statement from the police commissioner said.

Police Commissioner S George said, “There is reason to believe that even after demands of jallikattu supporters were fulfilled by Government, anti-socials, anti-nationals and miscreants are trying to spread rumours through the social media inviting the students and others to congregate in large numbers in the Marina and Foreshore areas by spreading their anti-national ideologies. We learn that there is a possibility they may, once again incite the youth or lead acts of violence, mischief and rioting, that would affect the safety, peace and tranquillity of the citizens and would lead to damage to public properties.”

The police order came as WhatsApp forwards were being circulated, asking people to assemble in Marina Beach to protest the ban on jallikattu. After massive agitations, the state Assembly had passed an order revoking the Supreme Court ban on the bulltaming sport for six months. However, protestors have been demanding a longterm solution.

Police in the state have been criticised for violence during the recent agitations. Chennai Police had baton charged crowds in Marina Beach after thousands of protestors had gathered and refused to leave for over a week. There were also reports of police violence at a fishing hamlet off Marina Beach. Opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has come down heavily on security personnel and the state for their management of the protests.