Chennai’s Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), which is an IT hub, saw techies stroll out on to the roads and join the protest in large numbers against the ban on Jallikattu. The protest which started at the Marina beach yesterday found its way into various areas of the city today, starting with IT parks on OMR.
The protest started around 8 am in the morning on Wednesday outside these IT parks, following the circulation of a poster invite via WhatsApp and Facebook.
According to sources, employees were called out to join the protests through a message circulation via WhatsApp and facebook that had details of the venue, date, time, dress code (black-colour clothes) and a note, saying no political interference would be appreciated.
A few youngsters in black shirts were seen starting off the protest outside the ELCOT IT park, which hosts three major companies, namely Wipro, Cognizant and HCL. They were well prepared and seemingly well-funded, having ready printed vinyl posters for the event.
Later the crowd started swarming in and the number of protestors grew close to a thousand outside the main entrance. Colleagues across designations, including team leaders, and other management-level staff were seen among the protestors.
The protestors, who were mainly against the ban on Jallikatu and the animal rights organisation PETA, even vented their ire against “foreign organisations” by buying a large number of bottles of Pepsi and Coca Cola and breaking them by smashing them on the ground during the protest outside ELCOT.
Their reasoning was that they were expressing support and solidarity towards Tamil Nadu’s farmers who they say are affected by such foreign organisations like PETA, and by extension to like Pepsi and Coca Cola, which are also headquartered abroad.
At Kandanchavadi, RMZ IT park’s two main entry and exit gates were flooded with more than 500-1,000 people protesting with banners, hoardings and posters. They were shouting slogans in a chorus saying, “Ban PETA. Jallikattu is our right and our culture”. One of the protestors, speaking for a group of them, said, “We support farmers; this ban indirectly affects the agricultural sector and the farmers”.
Sources said that AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala and Chief Minister O Panneerselvam were major targets of the protestors’ ire. The crowd called out to Sasikala, questioning her on the Tamil Nadu CM’s tight-lipped status on the issue.
Several IT parks across Chennai — from Tidel Park in Taramani and ELCOT in Medavakkam to Accenture CDC 3 on Old Mahabalipuram Road, Karapakkam IT park, TCS in Velachery and DLF IT park near Porur, and Ambit IT park in Ambattur Industrial Estate —witnessed similar protests outside their premises. The employees and outsiders were seen peacefully protesting on the pavements.
The protests, which were continuing in full swing outside the IT parks, are expected to last till the night, with some protesters planning to join the Marina crowd later.
The ongoing Jallikattu protests that spread like wildfire engulfing the whole of Tamil Nadu, started a few days ago in a small manner in some parts and bourgeoned yesterday evening at the Marina, with the army of youngsters swelling as more continue to join the protest.