In a dramatic protest, hundreds of students and youths blocked a Coimbatore-Nagercoil passenger train in Madurai on Thursday afternoon, demanding an immediate revocation of the ban on conducting jallikattu. The train that was stopped at around 2:30 p.m. was halted for more than five hours despite several top revenue and police officials trying to negotiate with the protesters.
As the information about the passenger train being stopped on the bridge in Madurai spread, hundreds of students from various parts of the city rushed on motorbikes to the spot. Soon, a crowd in front of the diesel engine of the train swelled.
Initially, the protesters said that they would disperse after being videographed by satellite television channels. However, they refused to leave from the place and continued with their protest, an official said.
Following the delay, the passengers started to detrain.
An aged woman passenger, who was travelling to Nagercoil, was helped by the protesters in mobilising funds for her onward journey by bus.
Revenue Divisional Officer (Madurai) Senthilkumari, Deputy Commissioner of Police A.G. Babu and other police officials held a marathon discussion but it went in vain.
Some locals started blocking road traffic on the Raja Mill Road bridge and the subway at Sellur.
A section of protesters were seen blocking a road at Kattabomman Junction. The students blocked an IRCTC-run Bharat Darshan special train for over 30 minutes at Madurai Railway junction.
Meanwhile, the Southern Railway has made the following changes following the flash agitation.
Train No.22628 Tirunelveli-Tiruchi passenger will be diverted from Virudhunagar and will run via. Manamadurai, Karaikkudi on Thursday.
Train 56736 Sengottai-Madurai passenger will run up to Virudhunagar and will be partially cancelled between Virudhunagar-Madurai on Thursday.
Train No.56735 Madurai-Sengottai passenger will be partially cancelled between Madurai-Virudhunagar and will leave from Virudhunagar instead of Madurai on Thursday.