An ordinance approved hurriedly by a governor. Jallikattu events organised at the last minute. But despite all efforts things are still locked in a stalemate.
In spite of the Tamil Nadu government’s best efforts, CM Panneerselvam had to face much embarrassment, as villagers in Alanganallur refused to allow jallikattu to take place.
At Marina Beach, too, thousands of protestors are staying back.
Many of the protesters are unwilling to back off, but a few of those who are crucial in organising these protests are ready to accept the ordinance as a temporary win and call off or postpone the protests till the next legal battle begins.
Though the protests have largely been organic and spread by social media, there are individuals and groups who played a crucial part in mobilising these crowds in Chennai and across the state. Four of them, P Rajasekaran (President, Jallikattu Peravai Tamilnadu), Karthikeya Sivasenapathy (Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation), Rajesh (Secretary, Veeravilayattu Association Tiruchy) and Hiphop Tamizha Adhi, are of the opinion that the protests should be temporarily called off.
“The ordinance is a victory for now. The four of us believe that the ordinance will serve some purpose. Our demand is for the amendment of the PCA, but that is not possible now as the parliament is not in session. We want sections 5, 11, 21 and 22 of the PCA amended. These protests can resume if a permanent solution does not come through,” said Karthikeya Sivasenapathy.
He is however unsure if their current argument is enough to convince all protesters. “We were only a part of this movement, it grew organically and now there are many people involved in it. Many villagers and even people at Marina want a permanent solution right now.”
Another member of this group, Rajashekaran as President of the Jallikattu Peravai Tamilnadu, has considerable clout over bull owners and jallikattu organisers in southern districts of Tamil Nadu. He too is of the opinion that the current protests have managed to force the government to pass the ordinance. “We are holding a press conference in Chennai today in which we will make our stand clear. I will tell the villagers that this is the available solution. A lot of confusion is being created in the name of permanent and temporary,” he said.
Rajashekaran added that he had nothing to do with the Marina protests and that the resistance of Alanganallur village from holding jallikattu was politically motivated.
Though these four faces of the movement are ready to temporarily stop the protests, Chandramohan of Irappor Iyakkam said that it seemed there was no way to quell the protest. “The demands of people at Marina and the villages are clear. And without these demands being fulfilled they will not retreat,” Chandramohan told TNM.
Another leader, who did not want to be identified, told TNM, that there was concern that fringe groups are infiltrating into a mass movement. “A small set of people have taken over the microphone on Marina Beach. These people have their own agenda. And it has nothing to do with us. They cannot be allowed to take over our protest.”
Cadres of groups like May 17th Movement, Makkal Adhiragam, RYSF, and Eelam groups are active among the Marina crowds.
Chandramohan, however, says that the fringe groups will never be allowed to take over. He says, “These groups can never take over the protest. They have made many attempts, but they have been asked to pack up and leave. They are not given any importance there.”
A well-known activist who was at the Marina protests told TNM, “From Sunday, top police officers have been calling to ask why the protest is not winding up. I told them that there were thousands of individuals and they weren’t part of any single group. If only the Chief Minister had come out and announced that the ordinance was only because of the protests by students and that this was victory for them, people may have celebrated and left. Now, there is no sense of victory, there is just confusion.”