Thousands have gathered at Chennai's Marina Beach to protest the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu
Chennai: Chief Minister O Pannerselvam said on Friday morning that Jallikattu, the ancient bull-taming festival, will return to Tamil Nadu in a couple of days through an ordinance or executive order that he has sent for the President's approval. He has urged the thousands of people gathered at Chennai's Marina Beach for four days now, to end their protest. But the protesters - students and professionals, men and women - said they will not leave Marina Beach till a formal order removing the ban on Jallikattu is issued. At the least, they said, the Chief Minister must come to the site of their protest and announce the executive order. An all-day transport and trader strike called for Friday is still on.
Here are the 10 latest developments on this big story:
The chief minister stayed overnight in Delhi, where he consulted lawyers and others before zeroing in on the option of a state ordinance to bypass a Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told him at a meeting yesterday that the centre would be unable to bring an ordinance as the matter is in court. The Supreme Court has agreed to the central government's request to not give its verdict on the Jallikattu ban at least for a week.
Mr Pannerselvam said today that the draft ordinance he has prepared has been sent to the home ministry, which will forward it to President Pranab Mukherjee. Once he has approved it, the Tamil Nadu Governor will promulgate or issue the executive order.
The President returns to Delhi tonight. The Tamil Nadu government reckons it can have the ordinance signed and back by Sunday. The President's nod is needed because the state ordinance overlaps with a central act, officials said.
At the Marina Beach, the crowds have only grown on Friday morning as many took a day off from work to join the protest. A policeman in uniform was cheered as he addressed the crowd pledging support to the demand that the ban on Jallikattu be lifted.
Top actors and others from the film industry have joined the protests today - composer and singer AR Rahman is fasting. Taxis and autorickshaws are mostly off Chennai's roads; private schools and colleges, markets and malls will be closed today. Buses and trains are running.
For three nights, thousands have slept in the open on the beach, meticulously cleaning the area in the morning. Those who have gone home or joined the protest later, have brought food and water.
Tamils in other cities around the country and the world have also held protests. They say their fight is for their culture and Tamil pride and reject the allegation that Jallikattu is cruel to the bulls.
They have also demanded a ban on animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which has lobbied hard to ensure the ban on Jallikattu. Animal rights activists allege that the organisers of Jallikattu drug the bulls to make them unsteady and throw chilli powder in their faces to agitate them as they are released from a holding pen.
PETA has said it will legally challenge any ordinance that allows Jallikattu, a sport held during the harvest festival of Pongal.
The Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu in 2014 on a petition by activists. The court later rejected a Tamil Nadu petition seeking a review of its decision and last year also stayed a notification by the centre allowing Jallikattu. It has finished hearing that case and will give verdict soon.