15 cops injured in Jallikattu protests, police begin probe

Over 15 police officers on Thursday sustained injuries during a protest in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district after the administration denied permission to allow Jallikattu, a popular traditional bull fighting sport, police said, adding, a probe is on in the matter.

After the protesters — mostly belonging to Gobasandiram area in the district — started pelting stones on the police and vandalising the government vehicles, the Tamil Nadu police had to resort to water cannons and tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

The situation on the Krishnagiri-Hosur-Bengaluru highway lasted for more than six hours,said the police.

Photos and videos of the protest from Hosur which were shared on social media platforms showed a police woman injured in the stone-pelting incident, who had to be carried away.

The protesters started a road blockade against the Krishnagiri district authorities for not granting them permission for a bull race after they had made all the arrangements for the event, a person in the know of the matter said, adding that the number of protesters increased and the agitation escalated into violence.

An eyewitness said that due to the road blockade along the highway, there was a traffic logjam for more than 5km. Traffic was halted for at least six-hours before the situation was brought under control by the police, said another person familiar with the developments, who did not want to be named.

Confirming the incident, Krishnagiri senior superintendent of police (SSP) Saroj Kumar Thakur said, “ Atleast 15 police officers sustained mild injuries and about 10 buses were damaged during the agitation”.

“We have video footage of the incident and we will take action against those who were involved in the matter. So far no one has been arrested,” Kumar said.

He added that there has been no government order and permission from the collector for the bull racing event without which they cannot allow the event. “We wanted to ensure that there are no deaths and injuries,” said Kumar.

“Those who want to conduct the event should apply to the collector who will forward it to the government and based on the government’s order, the collector will give permission. Only if there is a permission from the collector, can we have checks on the kind of bulls participating, and put up barricades around the event”.

“If they have permission to conduct Jallikattu or bull racing events, we will allow it. But these people who indulged in roadblock wanted to conduct the event without necessary permissions,” said Kumar.

Meanwhile, state opposition criticised the ruling DMK government for the “breakdown of law and order”. Leader of opposition, Edappadi Palaniswami described it as yet another intelligence failure on the part of the police department. “It is an intelligence failure which led the protest to escalate. I urge the DMK government to pay attention to people’s problems,” said Palaniswami.

Later, Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai also tweeted videos from the spot blaming the ruling DMK government for delay in granting permission for the event. “DMK’s aim is to ban cultural festivals of Tamils one by one,” said Annamalai.

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