Filmstar Kamal Haasan’s defence of Jallikattu on national television earlier this month raised the hopes and voices of those drowned by the Supreme Court’s order to ban the sport. Severe protests have seen since in the region against the decision, to legalise the sport. Actors, politicians and other artists from the South too have joined in on the protest against the order of the top court. The Tamil Nadu government has been urging the Centre repeatedly to issue an ordinance for the conduct of Jallikattu, held during the Tamil harvest festival Pongal in mid-January. More than 200 youths were taken into custody on Monday night after they held protests at Alanganallur village demanding the lifting of the ban on Jallikattu. Meanwhile, it was reported that on the advice of Sasikala, the Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in person to demand a presidential ordinance to ensure Jallikattu this year.
It hs also to be remembered that a few regions also saw the organisation of the sport despite the Sc ban on it. The police have reportedly taken some men into custody for the same reason. Earlier today, cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin also came in support of the protests and said that peace and resolve would allow their plea in the right light. Meanwhile, the Indian film industry remains majorly divided on the topic.
Scenes of peaceful protest all around TN.Unity, peace and resolve will show our plea in the right light.#peacefulprotests #jallikattu
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) January 18, 2017
Let us take a look at how the events have unfolded so far:
1. Kamal Haasan raises the hot topic, says “if you want to ban Jallikattu, ban biriyani too”. The actor said that the sport did not harm the bulls and was an integral part of Tamil culture.
2. The Tamil Nadu government urges the Centre to consider the enacting an ordinance for the removal of legal impediments to the implementation of the sport. CM O Paneerselvam wrote a letter to PM Modi asking him to consider the sentiments and support of Jallikattu all over Tamil Nadu.
3. The CPI(M) extends its support to the sport and urged the Centre to pass an ordinance to enable the bull taming sport.
4. Students from all over Tamil Nadu join the protests that erupted in the city. The organisers let loose the bulls at Navalurkuttapattu for the second consecutive day. More than 50 bulls are said to have been let out in an open ground at the village. The villages of Tiruverumbur, Thuvakudi and neighbouring villages let bulls loose in the event. Similarly, villagers of Pottamettupatti and N. Poolampatti near Manapparai conducted jallikattu, although they are mostly unorganised.
5. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee urging him not to promulgate an ordinance for Jallikattu. The organisation also wrote to PM Narendra Modi and Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave urging them not to propose an ordinance for the same.
6. Subramanian Swamy expressed support to the sport but said that the remote villages were informally letting bulls loose, which he said was not jallikattu. He said that while he supported the sport he did not like anti-national elements in the country.
7. Actor Vijay and Suriya released videos and statements saying that they wee glad to see youngsters coming together, “united by culture, history and identity”. Vijay said that jallikattu was an important part of the identity of Tamilians. Suriya said that PETA had lost their battle in the people’s court. Meanwhile, actor Dhanush said that he was proud of every Tamilian who was voicing his protest against the ban. Music composer G.V. Prakash participated in protests at Salem.
8. Nearly 200 arrested by police in Madurai for protesting against the ban in Alanganallur. SP Madurai said that the people had been taken into preventive custody for unlawfully assembling and would be released soon.
9. Chennai saw protesters gathered in Marina Beach and Vivekananda House. The protestors gathered on both sides of the road abut allowed traffic to pass to make sure it was not blocked. Although the police were recruited for security purposes, the protests remained peaceful. Protesters, clad in black, shouted slogans against state and central governments.
10. DMK leader M K Stalin asked the centre to immediately ban PETA and called it anti-national. He further urged the Centre to ban the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and replace it with a body which has more representation for Tamil Nadu.
The Jallikattu ban has escalated to a full-blown political drama in the state which is being linked to Tamil heritage and culture. Although the protests have gained momentum and the leaders and artists from the state have joined in, it is to be seen whether the centre or the SC bows down to their demands.