MADURAI: Intensifying their protests against the ban on jallikattu, thousands of villagers from Alanganallur town panchayat gathered at the Madurai district collectorate on Monday morning to return their voter’s identity cards. Located about 18 km away from Madurai city, Alanganallur has been one of the most popular venues for this sport.
This came a day after the agitating villagers held a funeral protest against the animal rights group, PETA, which is one of the parties in the case against organising jallikattu.
At around 8 am on Monday, a large number of villagers including women and children from Alanganallur, Vasalai, Kuravankulam and Othaveedu villages landed at the collectorate on 35 tractors and several two wheelers. When they entered inside the city, police personnel stopped the vehicles at Bibikulam and DRO Colony junctions, around three kilometres away from the collectorate, following which the villagers continued the protest rally on foot. After first gathering at Gandhi Museum, they proceeded on Collector office road and laid siege the collectrate demanding to lift ban on Jallikattu.
S Sivanandi, a farmer from Valasai, said they were deprived of their basic right on Jallikattu. “When we don’t have the right to follow our culture, why should we participate in election? We are not going to vote in Assembly elections," Sivanandi added.
A few college students who participated in the protest accused PETA of painting the villagers as uneducated and uncivilized. A Saravanan, a student from a city college said more than 50 per cent of the bull tamers in his village were college graduates. “However, organisations like PETA show us in poor light to ban the Jallikattu. We don’t harm bulls; we have more knowledge about bulls than the activists from PETA,” charged Saravananan.
Pacifying the villagers, district collector L Subramanian said the government has been making sincere efforts to lift the ban. He requested the villagers to cooperate with the district administration.
As per the draft electoral list released in November 2015, the Alanganallur Town Panchayat has got 25,600 voters, in Sholavanthan constituency.