Police in Allanganallur in Madurai broke up a pro-Jallikattu protest early Tuesday morning and took 240 protesters into custody after they staged a night-long vigil demanding the resumption of the traditional sport.
On Monday, police had arrested 32 people after they organized a bull run by releasing 10 animals in defiance of the Supreme Court which has banned Jallikattu.
The police action on the pro-Jallikattu protesters has drawn sharp criticism from political parties while villagers from surrounding areas congregated in Alanganallur town on Tuesday morning seeking the release of the arrested people and facilitation of Jallikattu.
Hundreds of people had sat through the night, cooked and slept on the streets to protest the SC ban on Jallikattu. The protesters also demanded the ban on animal welfare organization PETA.
By Tuesday noon, police had released all those detained in the morning and the 32 people who were arrested on Monday. However, no cases have been filed against any of them.
But even after their release, the protesters were staying put, insisting they would not budge unless their demand for allowing Jallikattu was accepted.
“The protesters have been released, but they are not going away,” Madurai superintendent of police Vijayendra Bidari said.
Naam Tamizhar Katchi chief Sreeman, who was the first to flout the SC ban three days ago, also reached Alanganallur to lend support to the protesters.
Protests have broken out all over Tamil Nadu, including in Chennai against the police “highhandedness.” At Chennai’s Marina beach, protesters formed a human chain and shouted slogans against central government and PETA. Meanwhile, police cane charged Jallikattu protesters at Attur in Salem district.
The opposition DMK also lent its full support to the protesters.
“The ban is an attack on our tradition. At least in the Thai month, the central government must issue an emergency ordinance and facilitate the traditional sport of Jallikattu,” DMK working president MK Stalin said.
Bala Somu, one of the prominent Jallikattu campaigners, described the union government and the BJP as dishonest. “They have shown how anti-Tamil Nadu they are. Slowly but surely, this entire Jallikattu movement will encompass other issue wherein Tamil Nadu has been shortchanged,” he said.