MADURAI/PUDUKOTTAI: Intensifying the protest 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. This follows Sunday’s funeral protest against animal rights group PETA.
Around 8 a.m. on Monday, a large number of villagers, including women and children, from Alanganallur, Vasalai, Kuravankulam and Othaveedu landed at the collectorate in 35 tractors and several two-wheelers. When they were entering the city, police personnel stopped the vehicles. Undeterred, the villagers continued the rally on foot. After gathering at Gandhi Museum, they laid siege to the collectorate demanding lifting of the ban on Jallikattu.
S Sivanandi, a farmer from Valasai, said the villagers were being deprived of their fundamental right to conduct Jallikattu.
A few college students who participated in the protest accused PETA of projecting the villagers as uneducated and uncivilized. A Saravanan, a student from a city college, said that more than 50 percent of the bull tamers in his village were graduates. “However, organisations like PETA show us in poor light to get the ban on Jallikattu. We don’t harm bulls; we have more knowledge about bulls than the activists from PETA,” charged Saravanan.
District Collector L Subramanian said the government has been making sincere efforts to get the ban lifted.
In Pudukkottai, 12 residents of Vadavalam were arrested for causing injuries to two police personnel and damaging the windshield of a police vehicle when the police tried to prevent locals from holding Jallikkattu.
In another incident, a youth was arrested on Monday by Thirupunavasal Police for harassing a woman during an altercation over celebrating Pongal festival in a village here. The 35-year-old woman was asked to move out of the temple yard (thidal) by Kalimuthu (27) of Muthuvel Nagar. As she refused, she was attacked.