Tamil Nadu no stranger to agitation: From Kudankulam to Jallikattu and now Sterlite, 5 protests that held state hostage

By: | Published: May 24, 2018 4:14 PM

The state of Tamil Nadu has turned into a land of protests since 2011.

These prominently include anti-Kudankulam protests, Jallikattu protests, NEET protests, pro-farm loan waiver protest, and most recently, the anti-Sterlite protest.

The state of Tamil Nadu has turned into a land of protests since 2011. The state has seen many medium-to-big protests in the recent years, which has made national headlines. These prominently include anti-Kudankulam protests, Jallikattu protests, NEET protests, pro-farm loan waiver protest, and most recently, the anti-Sterlite protest.

Here’s a look at the protests which rocked Tamil Nadu in recent years:

Anti-Kudankulam protest

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant saw massive protests by local villagers of Idinthakarai, a village which sits cheek by jowl, to the plant. The protests were led by Udayakumar, an activist who took up the cause in early 2000. The protests saw hundreds of villagers, mostly fishermen, and a local church-body going heavily against the Nuclear power plant amid safety concerns.

More than 6,000 people were charged under Section 121 (waging war against the government) and Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Udayakumar faced maximum – 101 cases. At the peak of the protests, the police arrested 182 people, including women. Many of the protestors were charged under sedition. A number of people faced cases for mobilising people, raising slogans against the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh etc.

Jallikattu protests

In 2017, the Supreme Court of India banned Jallikattu – a popular ‘man vs animal’ sports in Tamil Nadu. People across the state saw court order as an attack on Tamilian culture. Massive protests were held across the state with Chennai’s Marina beach becoming the epicenter of the movement. The government, led by AIADMK and the Opposition, led by DMK, unequivocally supported the protestors. As a result, the state government passed an ordinance allowing the banned sport. A number of people had died during the protests.

Anti-National Eligibility and Entrance Test

In September 2017, the state of Tamil Nadu witnessed massive protests and rallies against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test despite the Supreme Court ban on them. The protests were sparked after S Anitha, an aspiring medical student in Ariyalur district, committed suicide as she could not clear the NEET and study in a medical college in the state.

The Dalit community girl had scored 1176 out of 1200 marks in her Class XII state board examinations. The state was exempted from NEET in 2016. A number of students expected same to repeat in 2017, which didn’t happen.

Pro-farm loan waiver

A group of farmers from Tamil Nadu flocked Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and held protests demanding a farm loan waiver. The farmers were demanding loan waiver, a drought-relief package of Rs 40,000 crore and setting up of the Cauvery Management Board among others. The group of farmer resorted to bizarre acts like eating their own excreta to parading naked to up the ante against the Centre and state governments. However, they temporarily called off the protest following an assurance from Chief Minister K Palaniswami that their demands would be met.

Anti-Sterlite protest

Months-long protests for the closure of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin turned violent on Tuesday. Sterlite Copper is a unit of Vedanta Limited which operates a 400,000-tonne per annum capacity plant in Tuticorin. Locals allege that it is polluting water in the area. The agitators went on a rampage. They were seen hurling stones and setting government vehicles and public property on fire. As per reports, 11 people have lost their lives so far.

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