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31 hours and counting: Tamil Nadu erupts over Jallikattu ban

The Madras high court on Wednesday said it will not ‘interfere’ on the issue of protests in the city against the ban on Jallikattu, holding that the Supreme Court was seized of the matter.

As pro-Jallikattu protests gained steam with thousands joining the agitation at the Marina Beach in Chennai, the state government on Wednesday held talks with them to sort out the matter.

The government also told the youths that it would even approach the President seeking an ordinance on the matter.

A mention was made by an advocate K Balu in the open court about the protests at the Marina on the Jallikattu issue.

He brought to the court’s notice disconnection of power supply in the area when a ‘peaceful demonstration’ was going on Tuesday evening. Besides, drinking water was not provided to protesters, he complained.

The first bench, comprising Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice M Sundar, declined to ‘interfere in the matter at this stage’.

“First of all, the apex court is seized of the matter. When it is so, even the high court and Tamil Nadu government cannot do anything and moreover, Marina Road is not a place for any demonstrations. The court does not want to interfere at this stage,” the bench said.

State Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, who along with his cabinet colleague K Pandiarajan, held talks with representatives of the protesting youth in the wee hours, said 50 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs will ‘exert required pressure on the Centre’ for conduct of Jallikattu.

“Not just that, this government will also take steps to meet the President to seek an ordinance,” Jayakumar said.

Tamil Nadu has been urging the Centre repeatedly to issue an ordinance for the conduct of Jallikattu, held during the Tamil harvest festival Pongal in mid-January.

Responding to the protestors’ demands for an assurance from Chief Minister O Panneerselvam for conducting Jallikattu, School Education Minister Pandiarajan said the government cannot give any oral assurance and indicated that the chief minister could issue a statement later in the day on the matter.

The ministers urged the protestors to withdraw their agitation.

Chandramohan, one of the representatives who held talks with the ministers on behalf of the protestors, insisted that the chief minister support the bull taming sport.

“The government should understand the sentiments of the people and exert pressure on the Centre. They (ministers) have assured to find a solution,” he said.

Meanwhile, the protestors at Marina, who converged on Tuesday following an agitation at Alanganallur in Madurai, were unrelenting in their demand for conducting Jallikattu and continued to stay put at the protest site and sat through the night.

The agitators claimed that more volunteers had either joined them or were on their way to join the protests.

The Supreme Court had on January 12 rejected a plea urging it to pass judgment on the sport before Pongal festival.

The apex court had outlawed Jallikattu in 2014 and the state government’s review petition was also dismissed last December.

It has reserved judgment on a matter related to the Centre’s notification of last year to exempt Jallikattu from the ban.

Photographs: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo

Source: Rediff