Jallikattu stir takes violent turn in Chennai; Bill passed

Chennai:┬áViolence broke out today in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu as police cracked down on protesters even as the six-day-old ‘Marina uprising” was called off after the state Assembly passed a bill to replace the ordinance allowing the banned jallikattu.

The agitation in Madurai, famous for its Alanganallur bull taming event, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore and other places were also withdrawn late in the evening.

After the crackdown early in the morning, the sands of Marina beach and areas around it in Triplicane, Teynampet and Sellur in Madurai and Gandhipuram in Coimbatore witnessed pitched battles between the protesters and police who fired teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the large crowds.

There were incidents of stonethrowing and burning of vehicles and sundry items at various places in protest against the police action. Police personnel and their vehicles along with those of public were targeted. A number of policemen and members of the public were also injured.

Police suspected that some protesters belonged to ultra- left organisations like CPI-ML and Revolutionary Youth Front of India but the agitators said the students and youth who had given the call were not involved in the violence.

Initially, crowds defied appeals for withdrawing the agitation but the protesters were not in a mood to relent.

Acting quickly, the AIADMK government tabled the bill in the Assembly after the Governor’s address to replace the ordinance for conducting jallikattu without any hindrance.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017 piloted by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was adopted unanimously by a voice vote after a brief debate.

After the ordinance, for which the Centre gave quick approval last week, was enacted, pro-jallikattu organisations and film Director Gautaman appealed to the protesters to withdraw the stir.

Parallely, former Madras High Court judge Justice Hari Paranthaman acted as a mediator by explaining the process of lawmaking through ordinance and said for the moment this was a “permanent solution” that is a victory for the agitators. The agitators numbering a few thousands withdrew their protest after appeals by the judge and office bearers of advocates associations.

Tamil stars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan also expressed concern over the violence and called for restraint by the agitating students.

The protesters fought pitched battles with police in several pockets in Chennai, especially around Marina Beach from where thousands were evicted, and blocked roads in various parts of the city..