Jallikattu: Human Rights Panel Sends Notice To Tamil Nadu Government Over Police Violence

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Tamil Nadu government and the state police over reports of “unprovoked excesses” committed by the forces in quelling the pro-Jallikattu protests in Chennai.

The NHRC on Wednesday said it has issued the notices to the Chief Secretary, Chennai Police Commissioner and Director General of Police of the state, and sought reports in the matter in two weeks.

The Commission in a statement said that it has taken its own view based on media reports, that after the passage of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the state Assembly, “police, without any prior caution, resorted to beating, arresting and damaging private property in order to disperse a large number of people gathered at landmark places in Chennai in support of Jallikattu.”

Violence had broken out in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu as police cracked down on protesters, even as the six-day long “Marina uprising” was called off yesterday after the state Assembly passed a bill to replace the ordinance, thereby allowing the banned bull-taming spot of Jallikattu.

The Commission observed that “unprovoked police action amounts to violation of human rights.”

“The people of Tamil Nadu, particularly in Chennai, had been conducting protests over a week demanding conducting of the bull-taming sport, associated with ‘Pongal’ festival reflecting Tamil culture.

“All through, the protest was peaceful… The visuals on television news channels showed that police set on fire the huts, autos, motorcycles, vegetable shops on streets and other properties in interior streets in Chennai,” the NHRC statement said.

“Students ran for their lives. Police even entered into the houses and started beating people indiscriminately. The police blocked major routes leading to Marina Beach as well as Chennai city,” it added.