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Jallikattu protesters resist eviction, clash with police; torch vehicles

Monday January 23, 2017 5:55 PM, IANS

The police then used batons to disperse the mobs. As people ran from the beach and collected on nearby streets, there was more violence. (Photo: NDTV)]

Students leading the Jallikattu protests here torched several vehicles and fought pitched battles with police after they were forcibly evicted from the Marina beach here.

Furious that they had been ousted from the beach, the pro-Jallikattu protesters set fire to the vehicles parked at the Ice House police station and attacked police personnel with bricks and stones.

Fire tenders battled the flames.

A large posse of police personnel swooped on the huge crowd which had massed at the sprawling beach since January 17 and began to drag away the young protesters.

There was bedlam as others tried to pull back those being taken away.

The police then used batons to disperse the mobs. As people ran from the beach and collected on nearby streets, there was more violence.

The trouble was intense in Triplicane area near the beach.

The police also fired tear gas to disperse the crowds who assembled on several roads leading to the beach and hurled stones at security personnel.

All routes leading to the Marina have been cordoned off.

In Madurai too, youths who have been staging protests demanding the lifting of the 2014 Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu, the traditional bull taming sport, fought with police on the streets.

The eviction in Chennai began after week-long protests across Tamil Nadu.

The demonstrators want an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act so that Jallikattu can be held without legal hurdles.

The police action came as the Tamil Nadu assembly met here on Monday for the first time this year with Governor C.H. Vidyasagar Rao's address.

In Coimbatore, the police pounced on a protester who stood up with a kerosene canister and threatened to self-immolate. They were successful in taking away the inflammable liquid.

The government on Sunday organised Jallikattu in several places following the promulgation of an ordinance.

The demonstrators want the central government to take out bulls from the list of performing animals.

P. Rajasekhar, President of the Jallikattu Pathukaapu Peravai, has urged people to call off their agitation.

'Hip-Hop Tamizha' Adhi, a rap musician whose song in support of Jallikattu attracted the protesters, distanced himself from the crowds as they were moving in a different direction, he said.

While many are upset with the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for opposing Jallikattu, in most protest venues slogans were raised against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.

Some placards held by a few protesters were vulgar and there were random calls demanding a separate Tamil land.

Further, thousands of regular commuters have been facing inconvenience due to cancellation of trains after the demonstrators squatted on rail tracks.

The Southern Railway on Monday announced cancellation of 16 trains.

"Around 40,000 passengers are affected daily due to disruption in train services," a railway official told IANS.

Meanwhile, DMK leader M.K. Stalin condemned the police action as authoritarian.

PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss said the party was withdrawing its plans to hold Jallikattu protests on January 26 as the government had passed an ordinance permitting the sport.

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