As it happened: Jallikattu protests

Panneerselvam extends Delhi stay; PETA says it may take legal route if Centre brings jallikattu ordinance.

Updated - January 20, 2017 02:20 pm IST

Published - January 18, 2017 10:52 am IST

Over 20,000 protesters stage sit-in demonstration at Anna Nagar link road in Tiruchi on Thursday, in support of conducting jallikattu.

Over 20,000 protesters stage sit-in demonstration at Anna Nagar link road in Tiruchi on Thursday, in support of conducting jallikattu.

For nearly three days now, protesters have been camping at various locations across Tamil Nadu, demanding that the ban on jallikattu be lifted.

From Marina beach in Chennai to Alanganallur in Madurai, The Hindu’s correspondents send in updates:

On January 19:

12.12 a.m. | AIADMK MPs to meet Rajnath today


AIADMK MPs  — 37 from the Lok Sabha and 12 from the Rajya Sabha — will meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today at about 12 p.m. seeking the Centre’s help to allow conduct of jallikattu

“We will seek the central government’s help to conduct jallikattu, this is an emotional issue for our people,” PTI quotes an AIADMK leader as saying. “We are examining the issue (the legal aspects of it) and all steps are being taken (to conduct jallikattu).”


12:05 am | Friday

Nadigar Sangam president Nasser asks news channels/media not to cover their silent protest on Friday but to focus on student protests, reports Poorvaja Sundar

Protesters continue to throng the Marina beach promenade where thousands are streaming in to protest the ban on jallikattu. Families with children in tow were a sight on the waterfront on Thusday night.

Protesters continue to throng the Marina beach promenade where thousands are streaming in to protest the ban on jallikattu. Families with children in tow were a sight on the waterfront on Thusday night.


10:30 pm

"The youth engaged in the protest demanding jallikattu at Marina have maintained extraordinary calm & peace for the past few days. They have cooperated with the police in maintaining free flow of traffic on Kamarajar Salar. The youth are requested not to believe any rumours being circulated in the social media relating to any police action," the Greater Chennai Police posted on Facebook.


9.55 p.m. | Trains halted at Dindigul


Passengers leave Dindigul railway station on Thursday night as trains proceeding to Madurai were stopped at Dindigul due to rail roko agitation in Madurai as part of the pro-jallikattu protests.

Passengers leave Dindigul railway station on Thursday night as trains proceeding to Madurai were stopped at Dindigul due to rail roko agitation in Madurai as part of the pro-jallikattu protests.


9.45 p.m.  | PETA to take legal route if Centre brings ordinance


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it may take the legal route if the Centre brings an ordinance to enable the conduct of jallikattu or continue its campaign to create awareness against the holding of the sport in Tamil Nadu.

“Our campaign is against cruelty towards all animals. We will consult our lawyers and take a decision if there is an ordinance,” PTI quotes PETA spokesperson Manilal Valliyate as saying.

The animal rights body also claims that certain native breeds of bulls became extinct because of “white revolution” and “cross-breeding programmes“.

“There are various other humane conservation methods to protect the indigenous breed. Jallikattu is not the only way,” Mr. Valliyate says.

“The Tamil Nadu government had initiated many conservation programmes in the 1980s. Though Jallikattu was played during that time, the decline was because of the cross-breeding programme during milk revolution,” he says.


8.43 p.m. | Students force train to a halt

In a dramatic protest, hundreds of students and youths block a Coimbatore-Nagercoil passenger train in Madurai, 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.


7.074 p.m. | CM cancels his return to Chennai

Chief Minister Panneerselvam cancels his return to Chennai, holds discussions with State's Additional AG to explore options that can help in conducting jallikattu.

6.03 p.m. | 17-year-old suffers burns during protest


R. Logesh (17) of Sathya nagar, Mannarpalayam, suffers severe burns after coming in contact with an OHE live wire atop a train. He was rushed to Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College Hospital for treatment.



5:20 pm | Rahman joins the cause

Music Composer A.R. Rahman, also known as the Mozart of Madras, will be fasting tomorrow in support of pro-jallikattu protest.


"I'm fasting tomorrow to support the spirit of Tamilnadu!" he has tweeted.

4:30 pm | Vishwanathan Anand supports jallikattu

Five time World Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anand extended his support to holding  jallikattu, saying it was a cultural symbol.

New Delhi, 16/04/2014--- Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anad addressing a Press Conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: S. Subramanium

New Delhi, 16/04/2014--- Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anad addressing a Press Conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: S. Subramanium


"#jallikattu is a cultural symbol. Respect it. I'm all for animal rights but here that is not the point. tradition & livelihood are", the chess legend wrote in his official micro-blogging site Twitter.

"my state rises again. In unison. In peace. Proud to be a #tamizhanda. Genext here are modern yet culturally rooted #JusticeforJallikattu", Anand who hails from Chennai, said.

4:00 pm | Madurai Bench advocates to join protest

Madurai Bench High Court Advocates Association (MBHAA) has decided to hold a demonstration near the main entrance to the court campus on Friday in support of the demand to conduct Jallikattu this year.

All Bar associations in the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai take a joint decision to abstain from attending court proceedings on Friday in support of those protesting in favour of Jallikattu.

2:30 pm | Anbumani detained

Shubomoy Sikdar from New Delhi reports:

PMK leader and former Union Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and a few others were detained when they were on their way to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence to protest against the ban on jallikattu. They were taken to Tuglaq Road police station and later let off.

2:20 pm | Advocates to boycott court tomorrow

PTI reports:

The Madras High Court Advocates Association announced boycott of the courts tomorrow in support of statewide protests demanding to lift the ban on Jallikattu.

President of the Association G Mohanakrishnan, however, made it clear that the boycott was not against Supreme Court’s order but only against PETA, which is opposing sport.

A section of lawyers also held a procession outside the High Court raising slogans against PETA.

The National Green Tribunal Bar Association, Chennai, has called for boycott of proceedings tomorrow expressing solidarity and wholehearted support to the cause of jallikattu.

1:30 pm | 'Protest will continue till Vadivasal is opened'

D.J. Walter Scott reports

Protests gained momentum in the Ramanathapuram district as more than 5,000 students and pro-jallikattu activists gathered in front of the Collectorate complex.

The students and jallikattu supporters, including more than 1,000 women gathered in front of the office off the Ramanathapuram-Rameswaram National Highway and continued the protest for the second day on Thursday.

As words spread that the chief minister's Delhi mission has failed, the students resolved to continue the protest till the 'Vadivasal' is opened.

1 pm | PETA's response to AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala

In a statement made on behalf of the Government Affairs Liaison with PETA India, the NGO has said "it does not make law, we can only respect law."

'Targeting PETA India can have no bearing whatsoever on the central government laws which have been prohibiting cruel spectacles like jallikattu, bull races and bullfights for years. Anyone who claims otherwise is being either misleading or demonstrating that they are unaware how laws work," the statement said.

12: 30 pm | O. Panneerselvam speaks after meeting with PM Modi

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam says he "urged the Prime Minister to pass an emergency ordinance on jallikattu."

"Please be patient. You will see action taken regarding jallikattu issue very soon," he says.

12: 30 pm | Protest gathers momentum in Tiruchi

Students protesting in Tiruchi demand that all MPs from Tamil Nadu resign.

12: 15 pm | PMK's stand

Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) announces that they will go against the ban and conduct jallikattu on January 26.

PMK founder S. Ramadoss had earlier demanded an Ordinance to conduct Jallikattu festival in Tamil Nadu during Pongal.

He said that there was no bigger authoritarianism than the one suppressing a population’s cultural rights. “Jallikattu was banned in May, 2014. If the ruling AIADMK and the BJP-led Central government were serious about conducting the festival, they would have done it in one month. But both the governments showed no interest,”

11: 40 am | O. Panneerselvam meets PM Narendra Modi

"The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri O. Panneerselvam, called on the Prime Minister today. The ban imposed on Jallikattu by the Supreme Court came up for discussion. While appreciating the cultural significance of Jallikattu, the Prime Minister observed that the matter is presently sub-judice. The Centre would be supportive of steps taken by the State Government," the Prime Minister's official handle tweeted.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured CM Paneerselvam that all possible assistance would be provided to the State to address the drought situation."

"A central team would be deployed in Tamil Nadu," the handle tweeted.


10 am | Protesters gather in large numbers near Tirunelveli

Students observing fast at Sankarankovil continue their protest for the second day today. More have started to gather at Vasudevanallur, Tenkasi, Vickramasingapuram, Ambasamudram, Veerakeralampudhur and  Ooththumalai in support of Jallikattu.

Students of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University staging a dharna on the University premises.

Students of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University staging a dharna on the University premises.


9: 20 am | O. Panneerselvam to meet PM at 10: 30 am

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam is in New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to press for an ordinance for the conduct of jallikattu.

Meanwhile, supporters of jallikattu are staging a protest outside Tamil Nadu House.


Earlier on January 18:

 11 p.m. | OPS leaves for Delhi

PTI reports: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has assured that all possible legal means would be taken to ensure justice for the state in the Jallikattu issue even as he said it should not be construed that the Centre was “ignoring” the state on the matter.

“We should not construe that the Centre is ignoring Tamil Nadu on this issue,” he said when asked if the Union government was “ignoring” the State on the issue despite repeated pleas for an ordinance.

Mr. Panneerselvam spoke to reporters at the airport prior to his departure to New Delhi, where he is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to press for an ordinance for the conduct of the sport.

10.35 p.m.

With reports coming in that the young protesters against Jallikattu ban were treated badly by the police, civil rights activists have urged the police to exercise restraint in dealing with the protestors.  


7:35 p.m. | Lathicharge


Opinion | Missing the bull's eye

Vidya Venkat says the present debate on Jallikattu reveals the widening gap between an urban animal-rights activist concern and a rural-conservation ethic. Read full article here .


Protesters give way to an ambulance in Chennai




6:40 p.m. | Manju Virattu in Sivaganga

PTI reports:

Tension prevailed in Kandipatti village in Sivaganga where ‘Manju Virattu’ (bull chasing) was organised with 100 bulls. Police baton-charged to disperse the participants.

However, the protesters allegedly attacked police with stones damaging a police vehicle and reinforcements were sent to bring the situation under control.

6:00 p.m. | Protests continue unabated

In less than 50 days, the MGR memorial is witnessing another huge gathering. Last time it was for former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's funeral.

5.31 p.m. | CM  to meet Modi

S. Poorvaja reports that Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. He also urges protesters to withdraw their demonstrations.

“Tomorrow morning I will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urge him to promulgate an ordinance to conduct jallikattu. Hence, I appeal to all protesters to give up their agitations,” the Chief Minister says.

Mr. Panneerselvam says the Tamil Nadu government and the people of the State “are on the same page”.

“The democratic protests by students and people to uphold our rights and guard our culture are expressive of our feelings [on jallikattu].”

Opinion | What is Tamil heritage?


D.P. Prashant writes for thREAD on the issue:

"On the surface, the protests in Tamil Nadu may be viewed as a clash between traditionalists and liberals, or, if you choose to frame it differently, as a clash between differing definitions of what exactly can be construed as cruelty. There are those who would view the ongoing protests in the framework of a 'freedom of expression' issue. 

To my mind however, the protests that we have witnessed over the last few days are much deeper; they are about a people who desperately want to preserve their culture, and are protesting against what they see as an attempt to destroy an institution which is hundreds, perhaps even more than a thousand years old. Perhaps, instead of sneering at the custom itself, or judging them for being cruel to animals, we can empathise with the fact that all of us yearn for a connection with the past, however contrived or trivial that connection might appear to the outside world." Full article


5.00 p.m. | R. Ashwin bats for jallikattu

The ICC cricketer of the year, R. Ashwin, has voiced his support to the protests. He tweets:


3:50 p.m. | Pamban bridge protest

Volunteers of Tamizhar Vazhvurimai Katchi climbed over the Scherzer's  span in Pamban Rail bridge demanding lifting the ban on jallikattu and seeking ban on PETA. They were cleared and train services to Rameswaram island was not disrupted, reports D.J. Walter Scott

3:40 p.m. | Volunteers come for aide


Despite absence of a visible leadership, youngsters ensure that the protesters remain organised. Volunteers are ensuring regular supply of water and biscuit packets to the protesters sitting in scorching sun, reports Pn Vasanth Arunachalam from Alanganallur.

2.57 p.m. | IT corridor sees protests

A scene outside SP Infocity, a complex housing many MNCs, in Perungudi.

2.30 p.m. | HC declines to interfere

The Madras High Court says it will not “interfere” on the issue of protests in the city. It says the Supreme Court was seized of the matter.

“First of all, the apex court is seized of the matter. When it is so, even the High Court and the Tamil Nadu government cannot do anything and moreover, Marina Road is not a place for any demonstrations. The court does not want to interfere at this stage,” a Bench, comprising Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice M. Sundar, said.

1: 15 pm | Nayanthara supports jallikattu

More actors join the bandwagon, issuing statements in support of jallikattu. The latest to join is actor Nayanthara who said, "It indeed makes me proud to be part of this State. As youngsters fight out the various law enforcing agencies in the most passive manner, I support the cause of the people of Tamil Nadu who support jallikattu.


"This State has been giving me stature and pride and at this emotional juncture I stand one among them to raise my voice against the foreign bodies, and also against the law enforcing agencies which were misinformed about the whole concept of Jallikattu. The emotional enthusiasm displayed by the supporters will go a long way in showing the rich culture of Tamil Nadu," the statement released by her said.

12: 50 pm | Tamilisai appeals

The BJP's State president Tamilisai Soundararajan appeals to students to give up the protests. "Tamil Nadu BJP will lead a delegation to meet the Union Environment Minister on 20th January," she says.                        

"The delegation will include representatives of Alanganallur, Palamedu and Avaniyapuram villages," she says.

Earlier on January 14, she said the Tamil Nadu BJP is committed to conducting jallikattu across the State.


12: 40 pm | Situation tense in Salem

The situation has turned tense in Salem as a student tries to self-immolate, protesting against the ban on jallikattu.


12: 05 pm | Dy. Commissioner addresses a crowd

Mylapore Balakrishnan, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, requests protesters to nominate representatives who can talk to the State Government.                  

"While I agree that all of you have a point of view, it is not practical to speak to everyone," he says.

The protesters, however, don't seem to budge. Many still demand that the Chief Minister should come and address them.

"Only representatives can be taken to speak with the State government. You can then convey your demand, Mr. Balakrishnan says. "Nothing is off the table, including the demand that the Chief Minister has to come in person."


12 noon | Traffic choked in Coimbatore

Traffic on the arterial Avinashi Road in Coimbatore has come to a standstill, as college students take out rallies.


11: 45 am | College students protest in Palayamkottai

Colleges across Palayamkottai have been participating in protests:

Students of St. Xavier's College, Palayamkottai staged a sit-in protest on the college premises for about 45 minutes before the regular working hours. They have now returned to their classes.

Students of Sankar Polytechnic College staged a demonstration and returned to the classes.

Students of PMT College, Melaneelithanallur staged a demonstration supporting jallikattu, while students of Government Law College blocked vehicular traffic on the busy Palayamkottai - Thoothukudi Highway around 11.15 am.

Meanwhile, advocates across Palayamkottai town join the protests too.


Vijay, Suriya, Vikram bat for jallikattu

ICYMI, top actors from the Tamil film industry joined the bandwagon, voicing their support for jallikattu.


11: 30 am | Crowds throng Alanganallur

Protests intensify at Alanganallur, as more people from neighbouring villages and students join in.

Around 50 protesters kept under detention in nearby Vadipatti also joined the protests late on Tuesday night.

11:30 am | Protests continue in Coimbatore

Hundreds of people attend a mass campaign in support of jallikattu organised by members of the public at VOC Grounds.

The campaign, which started with barely 100 people attending on Tuesday morning, swelled to nearly 1,500 by evening.


Three demands placed

A representative who met Ma Foi K. Pandiarajan on Tuesday said three demands were made to the State government.

1. Bring an ordinance that would ensure the conduct of jallikattu.

2. The state government must take necessary legal steps in Supreme Court to overturn the ban and amend the PCA act to exclude bulls. 

3. Ban PETA in India.

11: 10 am | Tamil Nadu Chief Minister meets Director-General of Police

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam meets the Director-General of Police T. K. Rajendran, amid demands that he issue a statement and those arrested be released immediately.

11: 00 am | Students gather outside Collector's office in Tiruchi

Large number of pro-jallikattu students from different groups are staging protests near the toll plaza at Samayapuram on Tiruchi- Chennai Highway. Many are stationed outside the Collector's Office, Chatram Bus Stand and MGR statue in Tiruchirapalli.

Students staging a protest seeking a ban on PETA near Chatram Bus Stand in Tiruchi.

Students staging a protest seeking a ban on PETA near Chatram Bus Stand in Tiruchi.


10:50 am | Protests continue at Marina Beach

The crowd keeps getting bigger by the hour, as protesters steadily pour into Marina Beach opposite Vivekananda House.

Protesters are visibly angry with the State government, demanding Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam to issue a statement.



Earlier on January 17:

Tension continued to prevail at Alaganallur

Over 200 protesters, predominantly youngsters, who had camped overnight at the jallikattu arena were detained. They had refused to leave until an ordinance was promulgated to allow the conduct of the sport.

Marina comes alive for jallikattu

Many youngsters assembled on the footpath of Kamarajar Salai opposite Vivekanandar Illam to condemn the police action against protesters at Alanganallur. The protesters, predominantly college students, raised slogans against PETA and the Central Government for not taking steps to hold jallikattu. The protestors also highlighted the importance of celebrating the traditional sport of the State.



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