Unprecedented and massive protests rocked Tiruchi, Thanjavur and Karur and other towns in the central region of the State with angry but disciplined students including girls taking to the streets urging the Centre to take steps to lift the ban on jallikattu.
According to the police, protests were held at more than 100 places in the central region including Tiruchi, Karur, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Ariyalur and Perambalur districts. Over 33,000 persons participated in the protests. Of them about 9000 were women, police reports indicated.
In Tiruchi district, protests were held at 15 places including Tiruchi, Manapparai, Lalgudi, Samayapuram, Thottiam, Musiri and Mannachanallur.
Students started assembling at different places early in the morning and crowds swelled as the day progressed. Massive assembly of students were witnessed near the toll plaza near Samayapuram on Tiruchi-Chennai National Highway NH 45, Central Bus Stand and Chathram Bus Stands and MGR statue in Tiruchi. The students carrying placards and banners raised slogans demanding immediate action by the Centre and State to restore jallikattu. They made vociferous demand for a ban on PETA. The DMK south district secretary and former Minister K.N.Nehru, who visited the students near MGR Statue to express solidarity with them, was booed and asked to stay away. A large number of students assembled at Chathram Bus Stand and Central Bus Stand. They took out marches to the Collectorate pressing their demand. After a while, all of them assembled near the MGR statue and sat on Anna Nagar link road.
According to a police report, more than 6,000 students participated in the protest held near MGR statue.
The protest that began around 9 a.m. continued till late in the evening, with students refusing to move away from the spot. They kept raising slogans against the Central and State governments and PETA for failing to respect the sentiments of Tamils on jallikattu. Folk arts troupes kept the protesters engaged throughout the day who sat on Anna Nagar link road braving the scorching sun.
“We are on warpath since the first week of January. However, the State and Central governments did not listen to our grievances. This has spontaneously united the entire student community in the State,” said A. Karthick, one of the students.
M. Ganesh, another student, said that the State was at the receiving end on various inter-State river disputes including the Cauvery and Mullaperiyar.
The protests would send a strong signal to the Centre, he said. Though the police made tight security arrangements to regulate the protesters, students formed groups among themselves to avoid inconvenience to ensure free flow of traffic. A group of students of Government Law College and lawyers resorted to a road roko near the Railway Junction later in the day.
Commissioner of Police, Tiruchi, A. Arun said that elaborate arrangements were made to ensure normalcy in the city.
There was no report of untoward incidents. Round-the-clock security arrangements were made.
Thirty-three members of Naam Tamizhar Katchi were taken into custody when they tried to picket All India Radio office. They were all taken to a private marriage hall.
In Pudukottai district, the students gathered in good strength at 15 places and staged agitations. Students staged a stir at Lenavilakku, Keeranur, Aranthangi, Periyalur Junction Road, Tirumayam and Alangudi. Supporters of the stir went on a fast at three places -Thilagar Thidal in Pudukottai, Ponnamaravathy and Maruthakon Viduthi Keeramangalam.
DMK MLA Periyannan Arasu who visited Thilagar Thidal to extend his support, was politely told to stay away. In Karaikal, students from various colleges staged a stir in front of the Collelctor’s Office for about a couple of hours and submitted a memorandum to Mangalette Dinesh, Additional Collector.