Madurai: The ordinance promulgated by the Tamil Nadu Government to ensure conduct of jallikattu failed to cut ice with the Alanganallur protesters. The Chief Minister O Panneerselvam returned from Madurai on Sunday without being able to inaugurate the event at one of the most traditional venues of bull-taming.
The protesters and people of Alanganallur did not let authorities enter their villages and blocked all roads leading to their hamlets since Saturday night to ensure that the jallikattu events were not held. The Chief Minister, who was quite confident of ending the week-long impasse by inaugurating the event at Alanganallur, understood the “ground reality” after reaching Madurai on Saturday night.
After a briefing from authorities, Mr Panneerselvam decided to break the logjam by himself by holding back-to-back meetings with his senior colleagues, officials, jallikattu organisers and Madurai District Collector Veera Raghava Rao.
The last-ditch efforts by the CM did not yield any result as villagers refused to open ‘vaadi vaasal’ (the traditional entrance through which bulls are let out to the jallikattu track). To control the damage and to save the Chief Minister’s face, the Dindigul district administration swung into action to conduct jallikattu in Koilpatti near Natham, but that too ended in failure with villagers opposing the event.
A visibly dejected Chief Minister took the 1.30 pm flight to Chennai on Sunday, before asserting that the Ordinance once replaced with a law in the Tamil Nadu Assembly is “permanent solution” to the issue and “no one on Earth can stop jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.”
Ministers did not listen to us, says protesters
The stage for Sunday's boycott was set on Saturday evening, sources said, when villagers of Alanganallur prevented Mr Rao and Superintendent of Police Vijendra S Bidari from entering the village after Mr Panneerselvam announced in Chennai that he would flag off the jallikattu event from the village.
Sources told DC that organisers of Alanganallur jallikattu were apprehensive whether people and protesters would allow the event to take place on Sunday, but local ministers Sellur K Raju and R B Uthayakumar got their consent ‘forcibly’ during a meeting at the Circuit House on Saturday evening.
“The ministers never listened to us. We were afraid of our people. We told the ministers that the situation was not conducive for the event to be held in Alanganallur,” a member of the organising committee who attended the meeting said.
The source also said the ministers thought there would be no problem since Alanganallur was an AIADMK bastion, but what happened was something else. On Saturday night, the CM dispatched Mr Raju and Jallikattu Peravai president R Rajasekaran to Alanganallur to convince the people. And once that too failed, the Chief Minister had no option but to return to Chennai....