CHENNAI: What started as a mere forwarding of WhatsApp texts and social media posts in support of Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming sport banned by Supreme Court, swelled into a huge gathering on the sands of the Marina beach on Tuesday morning.
With hardly a few people at around 7 AM in the morning at the beach, the crowds swelled as time passed and by estimates it could go over a thousand by noon.
Strangers to each other, the people who received WhatsApp messages on various groups, arrived since morning at the beach. People from different walks of life - students, office goers and house wives- they are bound only by their solidarity on conducting the sport.
Besides WhatsApp messages, various members of online Facebook Pages such as Chennai Pasanga, Chennai Memes and others have also been campaigning for Jallikattu and encouraging people to go out to the streets. K Suresh, one of minds behind this Marina campaign, said that he started to send out this message asking people to come to Marina only at around 10 PM on Monday night. "I have very few contacts on my phone but I posted the message in one group and then it started to get passed on and now so many people have come together," he said
The group protested against PETA, the organisation fighting the legal battle against Jallikattu, and demanded its ban claiming that they had a Western agenda and did not understand Tamil culture. K Prabhakar, 19, from Tirunelveli, a civil engineering student said that the government has to take a stand on Jallikattu. "The sport is being banned because of some agenda to help corporates, PETA only supports Western ideas because of which farmers in our State are suffering. So many lives have been affected by this ban, the Supreme Court should revoke it," he explained.
The protesters who do not share any political background said that they were there just to support the age old sport. "How can they ban a 500-year-old sport this way. The bulls will perish and so will our culture. Government should bring in regulations but should allow the sport to continue," Prabhakar added.
The crowd included a few small time cine actors too. Opposition party leader M K Stalin also paid a visit at the beach expressing his support for the gathering.