Jallikattu protests turn violent: Protesters torch vehicles near Ice House Police Station, refuse to leave Chennai's Marina Beach

Devyani Sultania
Jallikattu protests turn violent: Protesters torch vehicles near Ice House Police Station, refuse to leave Chennai's Marina Beach

Protests against ban on Jallikattu took a violent turn on Monday as protesters torched vehicles close to the Ice House Police Station located near Marina Beach in Chennai. The beach has witnessed massive protests over the past week due to the Supreme Court's ban on the bull-taming sport. The police have said that at least  2,000 protesters are still at the beach.

The Chennai Police on Monday morning began forcefully evicting protesters from Marina Beach in Chennai as protests against the ban on Jallikattu entered its seventh day. All roads leading to the beach have also been blocked. The police has also detained over 100 students, who were protesting against Jallikattu ban, near Meenakshi Hall in Coimbatore.

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The police also lathicharged and used tear gas shells on protestors to disperse them from the beach. Incidents of stone-pelting in which a few police personnel got injured were also reported. Food was distributed to the protesters by sea after the police blocked roads leading to the beach. This comes a day after the Tamil Nadu government, even after promulgating an ordinance, failed to hold Jallikattu events in Madurai as well as in other parts of the state as protesters demanded a permanent solution to the ban.

The Jallikattu Bill was also be tabled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly when the session began at 10 am on Monday. However, DMK leaders walked out of the Assembly as soon as Governor C Vidyasagar Rao began his address.

"The state government has totally mismanaged the situation and have failed to engage with students," MK Stalin was quoted by ANI as saying.

#WATCH: Police trying to forcefully evict protesters from Chennai's Marina Beach #Jallikattu pic.twitter.com/Zc1tVs8Dbh

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— ANI (@ANI_news) January 23, 2017

The government began deploying around 7,000 police personnel at Marina Beach on Sunday night to evict the demonstrators from the beach and also from the Beach Road adjacent to it. The Beach Road also happens to be the Republic Day parade track. Practice sessions had been shifted to a different venue over the past few days due to the protest.

The police also made an announcement around 5 am on Monday saying that the protests had been carried out in a peaceful and disciplined way without any inconvenience caused to the public or hindrance to the traffic. They, then, asked the demonstrators to leave Marina Beach "in the same peaceful and disciplined manner."

The police also said, during the announcement, that the protesters had cooperated and assisted the police all along as far as maintaining law and order or regulating traffic was concerned. The statement added that the state government had promulgated an ordinance and also conducted several Jallikattu events across the state to fulfil the wishes of the public.

"Through an exemplary display of unity and discipline, the purpose of the protest has been fully achieved," the statement further added. The protesters had demanded half a day's time to discuss the Ordinance but the police did not agree to their demand and began forcefully evicting them from the beach.

Within a few minutes, protesters were seen running towards the sea coast to form a human chain, the Hindustan Times reported. However, they were forced to leave by the police since they were not permitted to hold such a huge gathering at the beach. 

Protesters were also evicted from the VOC Ground in Coimbatore. According to the Hindu, around 350 people, who were lodged at a wedding hall, were arrested in Dindigul. Many protesters were also evicted by the police. Eviction of protesters were also reported in other protest grounds at Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur. Police personnel have also been deployed in Madurai's Alanganallur village. Stone pelting due to the police's forceful eviction has also been reported.

A few protesters withdrew following a relentless stir, but several were determined that they wanted a permanent solution to the ban.

The demonstrators were also given a copy of the ordinance after the state government made it public. It was read out by a lawyer around 6 am. The government insisted that the ordinance was the "permanent solution" that the protesters have been demanding.

DMK working president MK Stalin slammed the state government's move to disperse protesters from Marina Beach saying: "It's highly condemnable for using force to disperse the crowd who were fighting democratically."

The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday also announced that all schools and colleges would reopen from Monday. Negotiations with demonstrators continued till late in the evening. 

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