Chennai: Opposition parties the DMK and the Congress boycotted the Governor's address in the Tamil Nadu assembly this morning over the police action on protesters at Chennai's Marina beach who are demanding that the ban on Jallikattu, the bull taming sport, be permanently lifted.
- Opposition upset with police action at Marina Beach walks out of assembly
- Bid to end peaceful protest with police action is codemnable: MK Stalin
- Tamil Nadu Assembly to meet at 5 pm to discuss Jallikattu ordinance
An ordinance or executive order passed by the state government has brought back Jallikattu, and DMK working president M K Stalin welcomed the move, but said Chief Minister O Panneerselvam should have addressed the students and other young protesters gathered for five days at the state capital's famous Marina beach.
Early on Monday morning, the police started removing the scores of protesters still gathered at the beach, using batons or lathis.
The DMK and Congress walked out of the assembly as the Governor began to speak. The assembly will return at 5 pm to discuss the Jallikattu ordinance.
"It is condemnable that instead of holding talks with peaceful protesters, it has been attempted to end protests using police with an authoritarian mindset," Mr Stalin, who is leader of the opposition in the state assembly, said in a statement. He said the police action was "anti-democratic".
Mr Panneerselvam has promised that the ordinance, signed by the state governor after being approved by the centre on the weekend, will be passed in this assembly session. The ordinance has to be cleared by the assembly within six months for it to become law.
Despite the state government hurrying with the ordinance to ensure that Jallikattu can be held in the state, the protesters at Marina Beach have refused to end their agitation, demanding what they call a permanent solution. The protesters, mostly students and youth, say the ordinance is only a temporary measure and want a "permanent solution" for the return of Jallikattu, which is held to celebrate the harvest festival of Pongal.
At Madurai's Alanganallur, people refused to allow Jallikattu on Sunday, demanding that the Supreme Court's ban be removed permanently first. The Chief Minister, who was to inaugurate the event, had to return to Chennai.
On Sunday, as Jallikattu was held in some parts of the state, two men were gored to death by a bull at Pudukottai.
The Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu in 2014 on a petition by animal rights activists who say the sport is cruel to bulls. The protesters say bulls are not ill-treated during Jallikattu, which they say is a symbol of Tamil pride.