Chennai: Monday was a day to celebrate victory, as a youth movement became a root cause for an amendment of a crucial act. But in an unexpected and ugly end to the applauded protest, an image of torment was added to the student group for allegedly indulging in riots.
However, the genuineness and fight for the unanimous cause has paid as Chennaiites - ranging from an auto driver to a petrol bunk manager and an IAS officer say this - "Pasange pannirkamatange (Students would not have done it)"
Protesters who were on ground narrate the tales on how the peaceful protest took a violent transformation as days grew. Kenneth Hananiah, an entrepreneur from Tambaram, said, "When the state government promised to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to animals (PCA) act, we requested the fellow protesters to disperse peacefully and resume if the promise is not kept."
His words had attracted provocative comments. While some said he has no guts to continue, others commented that he is supporting a political party. "It was then that I decided to back off," he mentioned.
The protest was kick-started in a peaceful way - as neither political parties nor NGOs was encouraged. Youngsters made efforts to shoo away the people with political motives and constantly pleaded with the protesters to not use foul language.
"The world is watching us and we are setting an example. The usage of foul language will irritate people and the purpose will not be served," they had said. Such words of motivation used by the genuine protesters helped in maintaining law and order.
"We could not control the situation as no positive response was witnessed for five days. It all started with slogans against PM Modi for not consenting to jallikattu," said T. Bhaskar, protester and activist from Medavakkam.
However, protesters were helpless in identifying anti-social elements. "Without flashing in their political tag, cadres with strong political agendas mingled. There were a lot of chances of manipulation, as an orator emerged from every small gathering," said Arun Kumar Jaganathan, another protester.
"The violence was a planned strategy to defame youngsters. As movement was appreciated among all the sections of society, political parties planned in such a way that we are unable to celebrate our victory now," Arun Kumar added.