The Madras High Court on Monday issued notices to the Tamil Nadu government and the state police on the alleged use of violence by law and order and personnel while they tried to disperse pro-jallikattu protestors during their agitation. A bench of the court comprising justices A Selvam and P Kalairasan directed several officials including the state’s home secretary and director general of police to file their counter affidavits in the matter before February 15, PTI reported.

The bench issued its directions after it heard a petition seeking a judicial probe into the alleged excesses committed by security personnel on January 23. The petitioner, P Kanagavel, alleged that police forces attacked peaceful demonstrations in the village of Alanganallur and parts of Madurai. Kanagavel also claimed that several protestors were illegally detained by the police. The petitioner also asked the court to direct the state government to provide proper treatment to those injured in the violence.

However, a state additional advocate general opposed the petition, saying that 10 buses and three police vehicles were damaged by violent agitators. The charge was countered by Kanagavel’s lawyer, who accused the state police of setting fire to the vehicles to create a violent atmosphere in the state.

On Friday, Chennai Police Commissioner S George rejected allegations of officers using excessive force to disperse the protestors. George said the police had used “great restraint” while dealing with agitators, and corroborated Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s claim that the predominantly peaceful protest was infiltrated by “anti-national and anti-social” elements that spread rumours of police violence. “Over 142 police personnel were injured [during the clashes]. Some of them were dragged and lynched by mobs,” he had said.

Chennai’s Marina Beach was a centre for the agitation demanding the withdrawal of the ban on the bull-taming sport. Bowing to public pressure, the central and state governments had passed a Bill on January 23, revoking the ban on holding jallikattu.