‘Where was the ordinance till today?’ Pro-jallikattu protesters won’t cut Centre, State any slack
If Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had hopes that announcing an ordinance on jallikattu will make him more likeable, he just needs to listen to the protesters at Marina to rid himself of them. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, isn’t faring too well in the court of popular opinion in Chennai.
Protesters have one question to ask of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister - why did it take the government so long to promulgate an ordinance? If not in 2014 when the bull taming sport was banned, what stopped them from taking this step before Pongal this year?
Nedumaran, a 49-year-old employee of Ashok Leyland said, “We gave the government a lot of time, but they didn’t do anything. We don’t believe either the Centre or the State. Ordinance should have been passed before.”
The Centre’s apparent support of Tamil Nadu’s move is also seen as too little, too late. Posters with a cross over Modi’s face, with the message ‘Down Down Modi’ are popular at the protest. There is also some graffiti calling for a ban on BJP and RSS, along with PETA. Some protesters also burned the effigy of the Prime Minister at Marina.
“When you come to us to ask for votes, you talk about our rights. Why are you looking at legal possibilities now? What have the Centre and State done for 4 days?” asks Suchitra, a 19-year-old student.
The fact that neither the Centre nor the State took any action until the protests swelled is not lost on anyone. Protesters at the Marina are refusing to budge until the law is finalised.
Bala, a 28-year-old priest from Mylapore was at the protests for the third straight day. “Jallikattu is our culture, and nobody can take it from us,” he said. “There are 50 of us from the Thiruvalluvar temple here, and we will continue to fight till the ban is actually lifted. Our trust in the system is very low at this point,” he added.
On Friday, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu announced that the state will pass an ordinance to allow the conduct of jallikattu. While the process of promulgating the ordinance has been fast-tracked, this has had no effect on the protests in Tamil Nadu.
Protesters continue to agitate for the fourth night at Chennai’s Marina beach, where tens of thousands of people have been gathered demanding that the ban on jallikattu be lifted.