Amid the continuing protests across Tamil Nadu for allowing Jallikattu during Pongal, the bull taming sport was conducted in coastal Cuddalore town on Thursday defying the ban on it, following which 28 people were held.
With Pongal festivities during which Jallikattu is organised starting on Saturday, the chorus in support of the sport grew with more sections of people, including students, joining protests in different parts of the state, including in places where it is not so popular.
On a day when the Supreme Court rejected a plea urging it to pass judgment on the sport before Pongal, functionaries of Nam Tamizhar Katchi conducted jallikattu in Cuddalore near the TiruvanthipuramDevanathaswamyTemple premises and police arrested 28 people for violating the ban.
A Cuddalore district police official said: “28 people belonging to Nam Tamizhar Katchi have been arrested for conducting Jallikattu and a case is being registered against them.”
With the apex court declining to hear the matter, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam blamed the Centre and state government for ‘not taking appropriate, timely steps’ to ensure conduct of the event and announced a state-wide stir on Friday.
DMK working president and Leader of Opposition in the assembly M K Stalin participated in a demonstration held by college students here seeking permission for Jallikattu.
“I extended support for the agitation by participating in their protest. It is welcome that students are holding protests for Jallikattu,” he said.
He said only such solidarity and participation by students ‘guarded our mother tongue’, in an apparent reference to the large scale anti-Hindi protests by students in 1960’s.
“Similarly, I believe that students’ agitations will protect Jallikattu, the cultural symbol of the Tamil people,” he said.
In a Facebook post, he urged state and central governments to take urgent steps to conduct Jallikattu by ‘bowing’ to the sentiments of students.
In places including Coimbatore and Madurai, students took out rallies raising slogans seeking permission for Jallikattu. They held placards expressing love for bulls and stating that the animals are not harassed during the sport.
Protest demonstrations were also held in the state capital. Film personalities including actor Sathyaraj, film maker Karu Pazhaniapan participated in a stir here pledging support for Jallikattu. Actor Simbu held a silent protest.
More than 10,000 people converged at a ground in Coimbatore in support of Jallikkattu while protests were staged in Sivaganga, Dindigul, Pudukottai and Salem districts.
Organisers of manjuvirattu (a form of Jallikattu) in Siravayal in Sivaganga district asserted they would hold the sport as it was part of the temple custom and usage.
Students and local villagers blocked traffic at many places in Madurai, Dindigul and Sivaganga district, a report from Madurai said.
In Coimbatore, people from different spheres of life, cutting across caste, linguistic and political barriers, took part in the protest at the sprawling CODISSIA grounds under the banner of ‘Voice for Jallikkattu’.
A section of the crowd raised slogans against PETA for being ‘instrumental’ in the ban on Jallikattu.
A group of ‘rekla’’ racers also arrived at the venue in carts drawn by bulls and joined the protest.
Organisers said the participants came in response to appeal by various outfits through social media.
In Madurai region too, the agitation united people from various walks of life such as students, political parties and film personalities.
Police made a lathicharge to disperse participants in a picketing organised by students in Siravayal as the protest paralysed traffic on a national highway.
Traffic flow was severely hit on Madurai-Dindigul highway also as people held road blockade demanding permission to organise Jallikattu.
In Salem, a relay race was organised demanding the ban on the sport be lifted.
In Dindigul, student protesters wanted the government to bring an ordinance to pave the way for conduct of Jallikattu.
The protests over Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu had its echo in neighbouring union territory of Puducherry where volunteers of various youth outfits staged a human chain agitation supporting the bull taming sport on the ground that it was part of the time-honoured tradition of the Tamils.
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