On a day of shutdown, the floodgates open

: On a day when various sectors had issued a call for a dawn-to-dusk shutdown, the roads in Tamil Nadu bustled with people clad in black clothes, heading to protest venues to voice their demand for the lifting the ban on jallikattu. Commercial establishments including restaurants were shut between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in many places in the State.

T.Nagar, the State capital’s shopping hub, which is usually teeming with people, wore a deserted look as all stores, including pharmacies, were shut. Nonetheless, people continued to traverse the city using every mode of transport available, from bicycles to buses, holding placards hailing jallikattu and criticising animal rights group PETA.

According to Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu, nearly 21 lakh establishments across the State remained closed. Traders also staged demonstrations in various places. Cinema halls including those in Chennai and Coimbatore cancelled their morning and noon shows. As pharmacies were closed, people had to seek out pharmacies attached to hospitals for emergency medical supplies.

In southern Tamil Nadu, the shutdown call received an overwhelming response, barring Kanniyakumari district. Trade and business establishments downed shutters, fishermen kept off the sea and most private buses were off the roads, even as families came in droves to venues of protest.

Over one lakh shops in Tiruchi district were closed, said Ve. Govindarajulu, state secretary, Tamil Nadu Traders Federation.

In western districts, some protesters were noticed blocking cabs from plying.According to M. R. Kumarasamy, president of the State Lorry Owners Federation – Tamil Nadu, nearly 3.5 lakh lorries were off the road. Postal employees and bank employees too took to streets in support of Jallikattu.

(With inputs from R.Rajaram, V. Venkatasubramanian, S. Sundar, Syed Muthahar Saqaf, R. Krishnamoorthy, R. Sujatha, Aditi .R and K. Lakshmi)