Apolitical groups extend solidarity as protest enters third day

The crowd of 25,000-odd students thronged the VOC Park Grounds, the main protest venue, Avinashi Road, LIC Road and surroundings of Nehru Stadium.

Updated - January 20, 2017 08:38 am IST

Published - January 20, 2017 08:36 am IST - COIMBATORE:

College students form a human chain at VOC Park Grounds in the city on Thursday, demanding a ban on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and permission to conduct jallikattu.

College students form a human chain at VOC Park Grounds in the city on Thursday, demanding a ban on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and permission to conduct jallikattu.

The third day of students’ protest in support of jallikattu witnessed solidarity extended by more apolitical groups. The crowd of 25,000-odd students thronged the VOC Park Grounds, the main protest venue, Avinashi Road, LIC Road and surroundings of Nehru Stadium.

On Thursday morning, nearly 8,000 people, who had stayed back at VOC Park Grounds the previous night, cleared waste materials including empty water bottles, water sachets, paper cups and plastic covers from the protest venue.

For dumping waste materials, dust bins have been places by the Coimbatore Corporation.

Nearly 500 farmers under the banner Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Samelanam marched to the ground and extended support to the protesters. Over 100 taxi drivers from the city conducted a rally to the protest venue. Lawyers practising at various courts in the city also took out a procession to the ground in the4 afternoon supporting the protest. A section of lawyers informed that they would be boycotting court in support of the protest on Friday.

The protest on Thursday seemed more organised as students sat on the ground rather than roaming around the venue.

Actors Ranjith and Mayilsamy visited the venue and addressed the gathering. Adhi of singer duo ‘Hiphop Tamizha’ spent hours with the protesters and moderated discussions. The main demands continued to remain lifting ban on jallikattu, and ban on PETA.

Participation of senior citizens and parents in the protest increased on Thursday as some of educational institutions had suspended classes. While some of the protesters wore black badges, hundreds of others tied a black ribbon around their mouth. A couple also spent time with the protesters soon after their wedding.

First aid

With some of the participants developing giddiness and other health issues, three ambulances have been placed on the premises to attend emergency cases. A private hospital has also set up a first aid centre.

CRRIs

The council of medicos doing Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship (CRRI) at Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) has resolved to extend medical assistance to the protesters from Friday. Council president M. Logeshwaran said that four CRRIs each would be placed at VOC Park Grounds to attend medical emergencies without affecting their duty at CMCH. The team of medicos would have emergency drugs. Dr. Logeshwaran said that the protesters, who get exposed to sunlight for long hours, were prone to conditions such as dehydration, hyperglycemia and minor trauma. Around 150 CRRIs and 400 MBBS students are wearing black badge in support of State wide protests.

Instructions

A core group, which had started the protest on Tuesday, has clear instructions to participants that banners of politicians should not be carried inside the venue. Participants were also asked not to raise slanderous slogans. The core group also instructed participants to remain inside the ground and not to allow fighter roosters and stud bulls inside the venue.

Micro units

About 300 owners of micro units in the city took out a procession to VOC Park Grounds on Thursday. According to J. James, president of Tamil Nadu Association of Cottage and Tiny Enterprises, the association members took out a rally on Thursday to express their support. In a press release, president of Coimbatore and Tirupur District Micro and Cottage Entrepreneurs’ Association president S. Ravikumar said the Centre should bring in an ordinance to remove the Supreme Court ban on jallikattu.

C.P. Radhakrishnan, former State president of BJP, has expressed his support for the protest. But, he said that he would not support any activity that affected the sovereignty of the nation.

Several hotels in the city distributed food packets and snacks to the students on Thursday.

Other protests

Small protests supporting jallikattu were held at nearly 40 places in the district. At Madhuvarayapuram near Thondamuthur, people observed a protest with five bulls at the venue. While jallikattu supporters at Vadavalli took out a procession at noon, supporters at Annur organised a procession for five km in the morning. Law college students made an attempt to block railway track in Coimbatore.

At Thirumalayampalayam, jallikattu supporters staged a protest damaging bottles of Pepsi and Coca Cola. IT employees at Keeranatham, students of Bharathiar University and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University continued the protest on Thursday. Girls students staying at hostels of a few colleges also observed a fast.

Classes suspended

Several colleges in the city have suspended classes due to fall in attendance of students.

Some of the private unaided colleges have instructed teaching and non-teaching staff to come to the institution while study leave has been granted for students till Monday. Several aided colleges and autonomous institutions too suspended classes till Monday.

Traffic regulations

Traffic on one lane of Avinashi Road between Anna Salai and CSI Church junction was restricted following the protest. Roads surrounding VOC Park Grounds were chocked as protesters and visitors parked their vehicles on the roadsides.

(Reporting by Wilson Thomas and M. Soundariya Preetha)

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