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Indications were clear that event couldn’t be held at Alanganallur

A majority of the protesters viewed the ordinance as merely a temporary fix

January 23, 2017 01:12 am | Updated March 13, 2018 12:03 am IST - MADURAI:

Standing their ground:  Protesters staging a road-roko in Alanganallur on Sunday. Many of them felt that the Chief Minister was trying to appropriate credit for an event that wouldn’t have been held if not for the public protests.

Standing their ground: Protesters staging a road-roko in Alanganallur on Sunday. Many of them felt that the Chief Minister was trying to appropriate credit for an event that wouldn’t have been held if not for the public protests.

There was enough evidence at Alanganallur on Saturday evening that the administration may not be able to hold jallikattu on Sunday and get it inaugurated by the Chief Minister.

The protesters in the village, at least a majority of them, had, since Friday, bought the idea touted by some that an ordinance was a “temporary solution”, and they wanted a “permanent solution” in the form of a legislation.

Emotions were running high since Saturday evening when the protesters learnt that the government was planning to conduct jallikattu, ignoring their demand. A few men who attended the meeting convened by the Collector to chart out a plan were decried as stooges of the ruling party.

Many of the protesters felt that the government’s move had to be stopped and provocative speeches were made by a few to sustain the agitation and not allow the Chief Minister to enter Alanganallur.

Apart from the demand for a permanent solution, another factor that fuelled the opposition was the resentment among many protesters who felt that the Chief Minister was trying to appropriate credit for the conduct of an event which would not have been possible but for public protests.

Attempts by the district administration to begin necessary arrangements, including setting up of barricades and galleries at the jallikattu arena and vaadi vasal were stopped by locals. Holes dug for erecting poles were closed by a group of locals. Television channels were pressured by the protesters not to report on the arrangements being made and instead just report that the entire village was determined not to conduct jallikattu on Sunday.

Around 7 p.m., when Madurai Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao arrived at the venue in a bid to placate the protesters, he was barely allowed to speak. Police posted in the village were also seen expressing their surprise on how the Chief Minister was advised to inaugurate jallikattu when the situation was so volatile.

After the Collector left the venue, the protesters began deploying people from the gathered crowd and also from nearby villages to block the roads at different places so that none of the government vehicles could enter the village.

Another late night attempt by the Collector to persuade the villagers also went in vain.

By Sunday morning, Alanganallur was virtually cut off from rest of the district with roads blocked in several villages along all the routes by enraged locals, which ruled out the possibility of conducting jallikattu on Sunday.

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