Sixty hours after the first bunch of pro-jallikattu protesters started gathering at Chennai’s Marina Beach on Tuesday morning, the demonstration shows no sign of losing steam. Rather, the number of protesters have only swelled with time.
The peaceful protests that have been described by many news channels as a ‘tsunami of emotions’ consisted of people from all across the city and other districts too. Men, women and children stay put at the Marina with most roads blocked and hardly any shade to rest a while. And amongst them, moving deftly in between the crowds were volunteers distributing food and water.
With the temperature touching 30°C for the last two days, water packets have been in great demand at the protest.
Hundreds of volunteers, some spending money from their own pockets, others deputed by companies, and many sent by colleges and various unions were seen distributing, fruits, biscuits, water and snacks through the day.
In the morning, a group of men distributed idli and sambar in a pickup van, while another group distributed glucose water.
Senthamal Chelven of the Rakshat Group, said, “We have been buying water bottles and distributing among protestors for the last two days.”
“We have distributed 200 packets, each having 24 bottles,” he added.
Another volunteer, Veena, a 25-year-old engineer said, “I have provided a total of 15 water cartons each containing 109 bottles.
Veena belonged to a group of six volunteers who were distributing water and peanuts among other refreshments to the protesters.
Mukundan, a college student in Chennai along with a score of his friends distributed a carton of biscuits. He said they had been protesting since Wednesday. “We are supporting the cause today by doing this.”
Chennai saw volunteers rise to the occasion during the floods in December 2015, when citizen groups not only distributed relief material but played an instrumental role in rescuing those stranded.