In picture: People participate in Jallikattu in Alanganallur of Madurai on January 16, 2017, despite a Supreme Court ban on it.IANS

The police in Tamil Nadu are keeping a tight vigil to ensure that law and order prevails, following the arrest of hundreds of people — chiefly in Madurai — in connection with the authorities' clampdown on the age-old tradition of Jallikattu.

Also read: Jallikattu Ban: All you need to know about the Pongal 'sport' and why it was banned

Why the protests?

The "sport", which has often been compared to the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, has been banned by the Supreme Court not once but twice — the second time after it was allowed, but with certain riders, by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2016.

However, the people of Tamil Nadu want their "sport" to continue, and playing to sentiments of the masses, political parties have taken up the cause: The DMK, which is currently the chief Opposition party in Tamil Nadu, had taken it up just before Pongal last week with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding that Jallikattu be allowed through an ordinance passed by the Central government.

Continued agitation

Since no such ordinance came, Jallikattu ban remained in Tamil Nadu, although some villages defied the ban. Many others took to the streets to protest against the ban. Possibly the largest of these protests took place in the Alanganallur town of the Madurai district, where onlookers say more than 1,000 people took out a protest rally.

As it started to turn violent, the police had to resort to preventive measures to ensure that the protests did not get out of hand. They broke up the agitation and took a number of people into custody. However, this was not before Jallikattu was already held in some places. 

"A total of 234 people had been secured on Monday. Of them, seven have been released," a Madurai police source told International Business Times, India on Tuesday. He added that the law-and-order situation was back to normal by Tuesday afternoon, and around 2,000 police personnel had been deployed to ensure that the calm continued.