Three persons died on Sunday as defiant protesters demanded a “permanent solution” on Jallikattu, dismissing the ordinance promulgated by the state government a day earlier, and forcing cancellation of the bull-taming sport in several parts of Tamil Nadu, including one to be inaugurated by chief minister O Panneerselvam.
“No Jallikattu will be held until the government assures us that it will not be banned again,” said Senthil Kumar, a protester at Chennai’s Marina beach.
The Tamil Nadu government insisted that the ordinance was indeed the “permanent solution” that the protesters have been demanding, and assured that a bill will be passed in the assembly on Monday to ensure that the event was not banned again.
“There is no need for these apprehensions,” Panneerselvam said, as he was forced to abandon his plans of inaugurating the main Jallikattu bout at Alanganallur in Madurai district, after angry protesters blocked the entrance to the venue. Attempts to shift the event to Kovilpatti in Dindigul also went in vain.
The new rules and regulations listed in the ordinance include the participation of government officials and observers to ensure that the animals are not drugged or abused during the event, besides the presence of a team of veterinarians from the animal husbandry department to constantly monitor their wellbeing. It also said district collectors would document occurrences at the event, among other measures.
Despite receiving lacklustre response in Madurai district, several bouts were held in Pudukottai, Udumalai, Tirupur and even Puducherry.
Rampaging bulls in Rapoosal village in Pudukottai gored several people, leaving two dead and at least 90 injured.
Chandra Mohan suffered injuries to his lower hip while Raja sustained wounds in his chest. Both were rushed to a local hospital at Pudukottai where they were declared dead.
In Madurai, 48-year-old Chandramohan died due to dehydration while taking part in protests.
The AIADMK government—and BJP MP and Union minister Pon Radhakrishan who professed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s love for Tamil traditions and culture—which was keen to appropriate credit for “winning the Jallikattu battle” through the ordinance suffered a setback.
Protesters expressed dissatisfaction with the ordinance, dubbing it as a “stop-gap arrangement” that’s vulnerable to legal scrutiny. They demanded a more permanent solution to ensure that Jallikattu was held without any hassles year after year.
At least 19 trains were cancelled in Tamil Nadu affecting movement of 40,000 passengers as protesters staged demonstrations on railway tracks.
Following unrelenting protests, DMK and other Opposition parties urged the Centre to take steps for conducting the sport annually without any hindrance.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has filed a caveat in the Supreme anticipating challenge to its ordinance allowing jallikattu in the state.
At Coimbatore, state minister S P Velumani inaugurated rekala races—involving bovines—only to be surrounded by protesters who prevented the bullock carts from crossing the start line. Violence was prevented only by the presence of a strong police posse at the spot.
For the government, which had initially thought that the worst was over with the issuance of the ordinance, breaking the agitation is proving to be a tough task. A senior AIADMK leader said the government has nobody to negotiate with, considering that the agitation seems completely “leaderless” at the outset.
Groups of protesters had congregated at Marina beach alone, and they were all blaring different demands on their loudspeakers. While some could be heard asking the Centre to explain the step-motherly treatment meted out to Tamil Nadu, others wanted to know why Hindi was being forced on Tamilians.
Meanwhile, MDMK chief Vaiko – in a letter to the Prime Pinister – said only the Centre has the right to amend the Prevention of Cruelty Act, and remove bulls from the list of animals prohibited from being trained or exhibited.
(With inputs from agencies)