Alleging that outsiders are misguiding students who are part of the jallikattu protests, School Education Minister K. Pandiarajan, who along with Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar had conducted the first round of negotiations with students last week, on Sunday said it is now illogical to continue the agitation. In an interview to B. Kolappan , he said the government would take action against those who are instigating the students. Excerpts:
During the discussions you and Mr. Jayakumar held with the student representatives in the early hours of Wednesday last, what demands did they place?
During the talks held at Mr. Jayakumar’s house, the students placed six demands. Their first demand was to promulgate an ordinance for the conduct of jallikattu. They also wanted a permanent solution through an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to remove bulls from the list of animals banned for exhibition. Their third demand was to impose a ban on PETA, and we told them it could be done in Tamil Nadu through an administrative order. They stressed that the Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam should give it in writing that their demands would be met. But the Chief Minister said he had to consult legal experts including the Advocate General and his secretaries before making a commitment. He sought some time. In six hours, he agreed to their demand. He deputed a police officer to explain the government’s stand to them. The students wanted the police to withdraw the FIR file against those who were arrested in Madurai and the release of others.
The agitators are now arguing that the ordinance will not offer a permanent solution. How do you see this?
An ordinance is as good as a law. It is valid for six months. Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Markandey Katju himself has said: “Once the ordinance is made into an Act by the Tamil Nadu Legislature, as certainly it will be, it will be a permanent law.” The Tamil Nadu Assembly will be passing the law when the session begins on Monday and no political party is going it oppose it. What else do the students want?
The protesters are insisting on a ban on the PETA…
As far as a ban on PETA is concerned, our party general secretary issued a statement expressing willingness to initiate legal steps to ban the organisation in Tamil Nadu. Despite the promises made by the government, the protests scaled up. Now, there is no logic in continuing the protest. Colleges will open on Monday and the students are expected to attend classes.
There is an impression that the State government consciously allowed the students to mobilise themselves in the initial days…
The government, from the beginning, made efforts to bring an end to the protest. The government’s stand was very clear that no force should be used against the students. T
I went to witness the event in Raapusal village which had an unbroken tradition of conducting jallikattu for the last 100 years. It could not be conducted in the last four years.
Over 1,000 bulls participated, and there was a massive crowd. When I was there, one person was critically injured ( n of people peacefully organised a protest.