Jallikattu protests spread across Tamil Nadu, CM Panneerselvam to meet Modi

Jallikattu protests spread across Tamil Nadu, CM Panneerselvam to meet Modi
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On a day when jallikattu protests gathered strength across Tamil Nadu, chief minister O Panneerselvam said he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to get an ordinance passed in favour of the traditional bull-taming sport.

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: On a day when jallikattu protests gathered strength across Tamil Nadu, chief minister O Panneerselvam said he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to get an ordinance passed in favour of the traditional bull-taming sport.

Sources in the Union government indicated that the Centre could take a sympathetic approach, but would wait for the Supreme Court's final order.

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 students gathered at Marina Beach in Chennai on Thursday. By evening, police took 14 protesters, all law students, to Panneerselvam for a meeting at his residence. After the 10-minute meeting, the students told reporters that they won't disperse despite the CM assuring them that he would speak to the PM.

The students decided to stay put at Marina and wait until Thursday afternoon for the Centre's response to decide their course of action. "This is our moment. Jallikattu is part of our culture and we cannot let anyone take that away from us," said Naveen, one of the students who met OPS.

Across the state, student protests spread to smaller towns and cities too while students continued their protests in Madurai -the epicentre of jallikattu -and Coimbatore. In Chennai, suburbs like Tambaram, Guduvanchery and Putheri, which have many colleges, students left their classrooms to protest on the road.

In Kancheepuram, Vellore, Mettupalayam, Virudhunagar, Erode and Tuticorin, too, students, including from high school, were out on the streets protesting. They were demanding a ban on Peta and an assurance from the government that the ban will be revoked.

Some 3,000 protesters stayed put at Alanganallur, near Madurai, where the biggest jallikattu used to be conducted. Among the predominantly young crowd were over 500 women from the village. Already reeling under the impact of crop failure and water crisis, the last thing they said they wanted was "more anger from gods" by not holding jallikattu.Nearly 10,000 protesters gathered at Tamukkam junction in Madurai city.

Tamil Nadu ministers D Jayakumar and K Pandiarajan held talks with the agitators who had "occupied" Marina Beach since Wednesday .When the talks failed to yield results, the CM met student representatives, but the protesters refused to budge.

Since the issue is still pending in the Supreme Court, which reserved its verdict last week on petitions challenging the Centre's 2016 notification allowing the sport, environment minister Anil Madhav Dave refrained from making any comment on Wednesday .

Sources said the Centre would have, in any case, an option to take the parliamentary route if the SC insisted on keeping the ban.

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