Chennai: Violence broke out on Monday in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu as police cracked down on protesters even as the six-day-old ‘Marina uprising” was called off after the state Assembly passed a bill to replace the ordinance allowing the banned jallikattu.
The agitation in Madurai, famous for its Alanganallur bull taming event, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore and other places were also withdrawn late in the evening.
After the crackdown early in the morning, the sands of Marina beach and areas around it in Triplicane, Teynampet and Sellur in Madurai and Gandhipuram in Coimbatore witnessed pitched battles between the protesters and police who fired teargas shells and resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the large crowds.
There were incidents of stone-throwing and burning of vehicles and sundry items at various places in protest against the police action. Police personnel and their vehicles along with those of public were targeted. A number of policemen and members of the public were also injured.
Police suspected that some protesters belonged to ultra- left organisations like CPI-ML and Revolutionary Youth Front of India but the agitators said the students and youth who had given the call were not involved in the violence.
Initially, crowds defied appeals for withdrawing the agitation but the protesters were not in a mood to relent.
Acting quickly, the AIADMK government tabled the bill in the Assembly after the Governor’s address to replace the ordinance for conducting jallikattu without any hindrance. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017 piloted by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was adopted unanimously by a voice vote after a brief debate.
After the ordinance, for which the Centre gave quick approval last week, was enacted, pro-jallikattu organisations and film Director Gautaman appealed to the protesters to withdraw the stir.
Parallely, former Madras High Court judge Justice Hari Paranthaman acted as a mediator by explaining the process of lawmaking through ordinance and said for the moment this was a “permanent solution” that is a victory for the agitators. The agitators numbering a few thousands withdrew their protest after appeals by the judge and office bearers of advocates associations.
Tamil stars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan also expressed concern over the violence and called for restraint by the agitating students.
The protesters fought pitched battles with police in several pockets in Chennai, especially around Marina Beach from where thousands were evicted, and blocked roads in various parts of the city.
Police fired teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge at some places as sections of protesters, removed from Marina in an early morning crackdown, pelted stones.
The agitators went on a rampage, setting on fire vehicles at a few places, including in front of Ice House Police Station near the beach.
While vehicles were gutted, the front portion of the station and the name board were damaged in the fire. Similarly, vehicles including some cars were set on fire by unidentified elements near Nadukuppam in Triplicane area, clsoe to Marina.
Several schools chose to shut early in view of the sudden turn of events while city buses went off the roads as a preventive measure.
In Coimbatore, police forcibly evicted the protesters from VOC Park Grounds and lathicharged students in Gandhipuram bus stand.
As the appeal made by senior officials to clear the grounds failed, police in large numbers started to bodily lift them and shift them out of the venue.
Some 200 people sat on dharna near the Central bus stand in Gandhipuram to protest police action. Police managed to chase them away.
Even as some protestors were seen leaving the venue voluntarily, police removed nearly 300 protesters from there, police said.
Protesting against the police action, some youths formed human chain on the main Avanashi chain and police made a cane charge to disperse them, police said.
A section of protesters were standing and raising slogans in support of their demand for permanent Act for conducting jallikkatu and against PETA and Police, near the Central Jail, some 200 metres from the venue, prompting the police to take into custody nearly 300 persons, they said.
Police said they had cleared the grounds, venue for the Republic day function, and it is under control of the district administration and police.
Police resorted to lathicharge at two places in Coimbatore to disperse protesters, who allegedly indulged in stone pelting against police.
Protests continued in Madurai with protesters throwing stones on police at Alanganallur