MADURAI: Following the detention of persons who staged a day-and-night protest at Alanganallur, demanding Jallikattu, lovers of the bull-taming sport across the district stepped up the protest in various places on Tuesday.
Though most of 237 detainees were released, they refused to come out of a conventional hall in Vadipatti, where they went on a hunger strike.
“When we were staying overnight in Alanganallur, the police forcibly removed us from the ground near the vadi vaasal (entry point for bulls into the ring) at the break of dawn on Tuesday. Many of us were sleeping when they took us away and detained us at the Kalyana Mandapam,” said K Aditya Lakshmanan (18), one of the detainees.
Hearing about the detention, more than 3000 persons gathered on Thanichiyam Main Road, near the vadi vaasal within a few hours. Hundreds of people took the protest to the streets in Palamedu, Puthupatti, Mattuthavani, Kalavasal, Koodal Nagar and other places in the temple city limits, where they formed a human chain and staged a road roko.
Despite the soaring mercury levels, the people did not refrain from continuously raising slogans against the central government and the Supreme Court for banning Jallikattu. Women and children formed a large number of the crowd which was led by youths and students.
Apart from demanding a Special Ordinance for Jallikattu, the protestors also cried for a ban on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and pressed for the release all the protestors. It was reported that the police strength deployed at Alanganallur was brought down after the detention.
After facing opposition from various sides, the police promised not to book any of the protestors.
Social media played a big part in uniting the protestors. The intense reaction to the arrest of protestors kept the police on the back foot. Unlike the last few days, when they allegedly stopped the local villagers from giving food to the protestors and caused disruption in the electricity supply in the region (on Monday night), the police had to ease the situation.
Commenting on this, the District Superintendent of Police, Vijayendra S Bidari, told media persons that a close watch was being kept on the social media. “We have booked cases for sending provocative or inciting messages on social media. Action will be taken on the originators,” he said.
“Please do not be misguided and become the subject of legal action. Kindly adhere to the Supreme Court guidelines and cooperate with police,” Bidari added.
Madurai Collector K Veera Raghava Rao said the administration was monitoring the situation and that adequate police force was in action to ensure that no untoward incident occurs during the protests, which were continuing even after dusk.