MADURAI: Peaceful but intense protests continued for the second day across the district after Supreme Court stayed the central government’s notification lifting the ban on Jallikattu.
Their anger rose to a new high when the SC refused to revoke the ban on the bull-taming sport during the evening hours. The day witnessed various forms of protests including hunger strike, demonstration, road roko, tonsuring of heads and climbing of cellphone towers. To avoid any untoward incident, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation has suspended the bus services to Alanganallur and Palamedu since Tuesday.
Protests first began in Alanganallur and Palamedu, where the villagers went on a hunger strike amidst tight security. At Alanganallur, more than 300 villagers including bull owners, bull tamers and women took to the streets and even shops were not opened for the second consecutive day to register their anger against the ban on the traditional sport held as part of temple festival on the eve of Pongal. About 75 villagers took part in the protest at Palamedu, while in Avaniapuram, residents trooped to the ‘Vadivasal’ (entry point of bullring) and staged a demonstration.
In the city, a few from K K Nagar tried to stage a hunger strike at the district collectorate but they were stopped and whisked away by the police. The police personnel also stopped the suicide attempt of a man who doused himself with kerosene and tried to set himself on fire.
Another group of bull owners brought their bulls to near Pondy Bazaar with an intention to block the road. The police evicted them from the place. K Senthil of Avaniapuram said governments and courts were “playing with the sentiments” of Tamils. And R Govindarajan, vice-president of Alanganallur panchayat, said, “Villagers cutting across political leanings participated in the protest. When two climbed on a cell phone tower, we brought them down and made them to protest peacefully,” said. “If the ban is not lifted, we will show our protests by returning Pongal gifts distributed by the government recently,” the vice-president added.