Chennai: Thousands of protesters, mostly youth have gathered at Marina Beach in Chennai demanding the removal of ban on Jallikattu – Tamil Nadu’s bull-taming sport after talks with the government officials failed on Tuesday.
The number of protesters grew after talks which began with government officials on Tuesday and which continued into the night failed to build a consensus on whether the festival could be held.
The protesters also sought the banning of animal rights group PETA after it issued a statement that said the purpose of this festival is to thank the nature which cannot be achieved by tormenting bulls and causing injuries and deaths to people and bulls.
On Tuesday, protesters began assembling outside Marina beach after hearing the news regarding the arrest of Jallikattu protestors in Alanganallur in Madurai district.
Despite police disconnecting the power supply at Marina Beach, the protestors continued their protest with the help of their mobile phone lights in the night.
Protests were also held in different parts of the state.
The protestors got their boost with popular actor Vijay lending his support by saluting the protestors.
“Law was not created to rob people off their tradition and rights but to protect it. Jallikattu is every Tamilian’s identity. Those who are protesting against the ban on Jallikattu are united by the feeling that they are Tamilians but not out of compulsion or political pressure. I bow down to each and every one of them,” Vijay said in a video message.
“I’d be really happy if those arrested are released immediately,” he said.
Actor Suriya, in between his promotional tour for upcoming Tamil action “C3”, lashed out at animal rights advocacy group PETA, which is aggressively campaigning against Jallikattu.
Actor G.V Prakash, singer-lyricist Arunraja Kamaraj and filmmaker Karthik Subbaraj joined supporters on ground on Tuesday.
While Prakash and Arunraja are observing silent protest against the arrest of those in Alanganallur in Marina beach here, Karthik is leading the crowd in Madurai.
On Monday, thousands of youths who started their protest in Alanganallur in Madurai district against a Supreme court ban on the bull-taming sport, were taken into custody by the police on Tuesday as the protest extended overnight.
Police housed the protesters — including both men and women, who had assembled in the town famous for conducting Jallikattu — in nearby wedding halls.
Angered by these arrests, villagers came out on the streets of Alanganallur.
DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly M.K. Stalin condemned the arrests as it prevented food and water supplies from reaching the protesters.
He also termed the AIADMK rule in the state as “draconian”.
Stalin called the police action “inhuman” and said on the pretext of preventing cruelty to bulls, police made peaceful protesters suffer.
He demanded the immediate release of those taken into custody.
In Jallikattu, a bull vaulter is expected to hang on to the animal’s hump for a stipulated distance or hold on to the hump for a minimum of three jumps made by the bull.
The sport is traditionally held as part of the four-day Pongal festival.
The Supreme Court in May 2014 banned the conduct of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
The court also held that bulls cannot be used as performing animals either for Jallikattu events or for bullock-cart races in the Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.
Ever since the ban order, people have been demanding that the central government take necessary legal steps to allow the conduct of the sport.