Jallikattu Protesters Defy Police Orders To Leave Marina Beach: 10 Updates

CHENNAI:  Protests in support of bull-taming festival Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, peaceful so far, turned violent today as the police physically removed thousands of protesters at Chennai’s Marina Beach and cities like Madurai. Some people were injured in clashes with the police near the beach. Cars were set on fire outside a police station near the beach. The police blamed the violence on “anti-social elements” insinuating themselves in the crowd.

Here are the latest developments in this big story.

  1. Hundreds resisted the police who arrived at 5 am and physically removed protesters. Protesters standing in a chain edged closer to the sea while others trying to return to the beach threw stones at the police, who used batons and tear gas.

  2. The protesters had yesterday threatened to block Republic Day celebrations despite the state government’s ordinance or special order to bypass a Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu.
  3. Visuals showed a man falling to the ground after being hit by a police baton near the beach. Some protesters claimed that pregnant women were pushed as the police used force on the people.

  4. The police arrived on the beach in the morning with orders to remove the protesters if they refused to leave. They reportedly showed a copy of the ordinance to the protesters, who have demanded a more permanent solution.

  5. All roads to the beach have been blocked, which has cut off supply of food and water at the beach. People from fishing villages nearby brought supplies in boats with black flags but were stopped by the police.T he crowds have considerably thinned now at the beach, where around 15,000 had gathered at the height of protests last week.

  6. Denying the use of excess force, a senior police officer told reporters, “We requested them to leave two-three times. Some of them were willing to go, but the rest said they wanted more time.”

  7. On Sunday, Jallikattu returned to parts of the state following the state government’s ordinance. Two men were gored to death by a bull at Pudukottai and a third man reportedly died of thirst.

  8. Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was to open the government’s official Jallikattu event at Madurai’s Alanganallur, around 400 km from Chennai, but people refused to allow it, demanding that the ban be permanently gone.

  9. The ordinance has to be cleared within six months for it to become law. Mr Panneerselvam has promised that it will be passed in the assembly session which begins today.

  10. Jallikattu, in which young men wrestle with a bull in an open field during the harvest festival of Pongal, was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014. Last year, the Centre allowed the sport, but that decision has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The court has agreed to not deliver its verdict this week after the centre pointed out that a decision could create law and order problems.

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