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Protest turns violent on Chennai’s Marina Beach; vehicles torched, petrol bombs lobbed

Over the last weekend at least 40,000 students, IT professionals and even families joined the protests at the Marina Beach in Chennai.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2017 19:02 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Jallikattu protests,Jallikattu,Marina beach
Over the last weekend at least 40,000 students, IT professionals and even families joined the protests at the Marina Beach in Chennai. (PTI)

The largely peaceful protests over Jallikattu on Marina Beach in Chennai turned violent on Monday after retreating protesters torched two wheelers outside a police station and threw a petrol bomb at another in Triplicane area of the city.

The violence at police stations on Ice House on Natesan Road and Zambazar came a day after the week-long demonstrations seeking a permanent solution to the issue blocked the Tamil Nadu government’s attempt to hold the traditional bull-taming event in Madurai and some other places.

Officials said some people seemed to infiltrate the protests and were seen egging others to hold on in defiance forcing the police to use force to evict them from Marina Beach as well as other places in Tamil Nadu, including at Alanganallur in Madurai.

Follow Jallikattu live updates on Monday

Police baton charged the protesters and fired teargas shells at some places in the state capital to disperse people demanding a permanent solution to the Jallikattu controversy. They said protesters even threw stones at security forces at some places. According to police, at least 20 policemen have been injured in the violence.

On Sunday, the Tamil Nadu government made an ordinance public, which exempted the sport from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, and insisted that it is indeed the permanent solution that protesters have been asking for.

At around 5am on Monday, police gave protesters, at least 7,000, a copy of the ordinance and explained the steps taken by the government asking them to leave.

“Few protesters went out and many remained adamant after we asked them to disperse peacefully,” said a senior police official.

The majority of the protesters were cleared out at Marina Beach by noon and only a couple of thousand stay put close to the shore. Some protesters who were earlier evicted reportedly rejoined the protests by sneaking in through another place.

Tamil Nadu has been witnessing protests by students and youth throughout the state demanding a permanent solution to the Jallikattu problem by enacting laws so that they can maintain tradition and culture of Tamil Nadu.

The state assembly is later expected to take up consideration a bill seeking to replace an ordinance to amend Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to replace an ordinance issued on Saturday to facilitate the holding of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.

The state government has insisted that the ordinance was indeed the “permanent solution”, and assured that a bill will be passed in the assembly on Monday to ensure that the event was not banned again. The Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in 2014 on grounds of animal cruelty.

Governor Vidyasagar Rao in his inaugural address to the Tamil Nadu assembly session that began on Monday blamed the previous UPA regime for the row and lauded the peaceful protests by the youth and students.

“This mass movement has paved the way for holding Jallikattu,” he said adding that for a permanent measure to hold Jallikattu a bill to replace the ordinance will be placed in the house immediately.

The moment the governor’s address was over, the session broke for a meeting of the business advisory committee and it is likely that a bill to replace the amendment to PCA would be introduced later in the afternoon.

First Published: Jan 23, 2017 08:11 IST