Pro Jallikattu protests at Marina beach, the epicenter of the state-wide stir, reached its peak on the fourth day on Friday, with nearly over a lakh people from all walks of life assembling there, demanding lifting of the ban on the bull taming sport.
The entire area in and around Marina, including arterial Kamarajar Salai, was abuzz with hordes of men, women and children shouting slogans and taking out rallies seeking the nod for Jallikattu.
The scene was reminiscent of a relay race with youths in large numbers arriving in a continuous stream on motorcycles and cars via several adjoining roads and converging on the already heavily crowded Kamarajar Salai.
They then moved into the sands of the Marina where they shouted slogans demanding permission to hold the sport. Other groups arrived and did the same.
Students also took to some dangerous ways to attract attention, like walking along the track from the elevated Chintadripet MRTS railway station, on which local trains ply, holding aloft placards demanding Jallikattu.
Some swung briefly from the sides of the barrier walls of the elevated MRTS, which was visible from a distance, and from doorways of moving trains, holding placards and waving to the protesters moving on Swami Sivananda road below.
A group of students on this stretch tried to be more creative by stretching out their hands atop their heads to symbolise the bulls’ horns and enacting Jallikattu. Some students got themselves painted as bulls, while others performed folk dances.
A temple music performance with traditional instruments including drums by ‘Shiva Kailaya Thiru Koottam,’ enthralled the youth who swayed to the beats for a two kilometre stretch.
Sivamohan of the suburban Vanagaram based association of temple musicians held aloft a flag of “Nandishwara (bull)” saying they supported Jallikattu which was an integral part of the life of Tamils and an intrinsic aspect of the cultural life of the people of the state.
Male employees of a State-run corporation distributed pamphlets with phrases of nationalist poet Bharathi like “Acham Thavir,” (Shun fright) “Routhiram Pazhagu (Practice Anger),” to motivate the agitating students.
The huge crowds at Kamarajar Salai saw traffic moving along at snail’s pace and even on adjoining roads.
Protests were held all across the city and suburbs with local resident welfare associations, unions of auto rickshaws, taxis and traders too taking out rallies and holding agitations.