Protests in support of Jallikattu and condemning the India chapter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) spread from Chennai to Bengaluru on Thursday, January 19, with hundreds of youngsters gathering outside the Town Hall in support of the bull-running sport that has been a part of Tamil Nadu's tradition for ages.
The people conducting the protests in Tamil Nadu want PETA India banned as they believe that the Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in 2014 based on "old evidence" submitted by the animal rights organisation. Their protests in Bengaluru on Thursday also laid bare their anger against Pepsi and Coca-Cola, which they want banned from Tamil Nadu.
What happened in Bengaluru?
A group of youngsters, taking inspiration from the ongoing protests in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu, started spreading the word on social media — chief through WhatsApp and Facebook — of a peaceful protest in Bengaluru. As the word spread, support poured in from people of all ages and all walks of life.
However, a protest at Town Hall — one of the key intersections in the city — was easier said than done. One of the biggest hurdles was getting permission from the police, which the group of youngsters managed to get at the last minute, leading the protests to start at just after 4 pm on Thursday.
The permission was for just one hour and for 250 people to protest. However, close to 400-500 people turned up at the venue and chanted slogans in support of Jallikattu, on how it was a tradition worth saving, and the demand to ban PETA India.
It did appear once or twice that the protests would get out of hand, but the presence of volunteers working tirelessly to keep things under control and police personnel nearby ensured that the agitation was mostly peaceful.
Protests against Coke and Pepsi
Even global brands like Coke and Pepsi seemed to be at the crosshairs of the protesters. One agitator, who identified himself as Mohammed Irshad, told International Business Times, India: "Coca-Cola and Pepsi are looking to bring Jersey cows to India and are therefore rooting for the end of the native breeds of cattle. Banning Jallikattu will serve their purpose."
Another youngster named Mohan Kumar added: "PETA is not a true animal-rights organisations. There have been several instances of its members killing animals when donations for them stop coming in."