Jallikattu Protest Issue press meet



Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam on Friday defended the police action of evicting Jallikattu protesters from Marina beach in the state assembly, saying they used minimum force to ensure that the agitation did not end up disrupting the Republic Day function.

He also claimed that anti-social elements had mingled with the actual protesters (most of them students), and were not allowing them to withdraw the stir after an ordinance to permit the bull-taming sport was promulgated. Anti-national slogans – some of them seditious – were shouted during the agitation, Panneerselvam said, holding up offending posters featuring slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden for legislators to see.

Responding to the opposition DMK’s demand for a judicial probe into police high-handedness in ending the agitation, the chief minister said all pieces of videographic evidence in the police’s possession were being investigated. Action would be taken against anybody found guilty, even if they are police personnel, he added.

Panneerselvam claimed anti-social elements had burnt down the Ice House police station under the cover of the Jallikattu agitation. The authorities will take appropriate action against the perpetrators after examining videographic evidence, he added.

The chief minister further claimed that the Jallikattu ban was implemented in 2011, during the days of the UPA regime – of which the DMK was a part. He also cited sustained efforts on the part of his predecessor, late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, for legalising the sport again.

Panneerselvam’s response, however, failed to satisfy the opposition. Criticising his attempts to defend the police, DMK working president MK Stalin led party members in staging in a walkout from the state assembly.

Meanwhile, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said that it would hear all arguments pertaining to Jallikattu on January 31. The Centre had recently filed a plea seeking the withdrawal of a January 2016 notification that permitted conducting the sport in Tamil Nadu.

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