TAMIL NADU

Faceless volunteers behind the protest

It has come to light now that behind the massive gathering at Marina, there is a core group of 136 persons working through various platforms, including social media networks.

They first came together during the December deluge in 2015 when they formed social media groups to invite youths to render a helping hand to the affected people.

“We decided to fight for the conduct of jallikattu, which is the pride of Tamils. Over 2000 youths came here to co-ordinate the agitation,” said a member, requesting anonymity.

These 136 members became co-ordinators of 12 teams each, with each team comprising 200 members. About 2,500 IT professionals, college students and women came forward as volunteers. At the beginning itself, they decided not to allow politicians and celebrities either to take centre stage or participate in it.

The groups were assigned work such as distribution of food, fruit and water and regulation of crowds and traffic. As the agitation intensified, more youth joined as volunteers and the support cast also grew.

“It is only the beginning for launching further struggles in future for various issues facing Tamils, particularly farmers,” said a member. They, however, emphasise that the movement is leaderless. And none of them claim to be the leaders. One of them, an agriculture student, hinted that they could take the plunge into electoral politics in future.

“The ordinance has given us relief. But groups like PETA will challenge it in courts. The Tamil Nadu government should give us assurance that it would find a permanent solution,” said another member.