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Frontline Gist: Issue February 17, 2017

 3/22/2017  843

Frontline Gist: Issue
February 17, 2017

Message from The Marina

The unprecedented youth protest in Tamil Nadu demanding revocation of ban on jallikattu proved to be a rallying point for various sections of people affected in different ways by the policies and actions of the governments at the cente and in the state

Issues and Protest:

(Related Articles: The Marina Moment, by Ilangovan Rajasekaran & R. Vijaya Sankar; Brutal Crackdown, by T.S. Subramanian, page no. 17)

• Several lakh of students and youth gathered on Marina beach to stage non violent protest against SC’s verdict of banning Centuries old Tamil tradition of Jallikattu (bull taming sport)
• Prevention of Cruelty to animals act (PCA), defined jallikatu as a traditional sport which would be allowed to be conducted in TN between January and May every year. It carefully removed moved the word “taming” a word the SC frowned upon while banning support in 2014
• Protest was against the insincere efforts of Central and state governments to take on legally animal rights activist groups mainly PETA and AWBI etc.
• The centre also informed the SC that it would withdraw the January 7, 2016 notification of union environment ministry which was used to allow conduct of jallikattu but subsequently stayed by SC
• The negligence of state on various fronts, institutionalization of corruption, degradation of waterbodies, exploitation of the meek, and the helplessness of civil society were the main reasons for uprising
• The agitation was multifaceted, indigenous and technology driven. The mobilization of this of this unique gathering through social media under common banner “ we do jallikattu” was refreshingly new phenomenon in TN and perhaps in the country
• Tech Savvy and politically aware
       a) It was clear that the youths a considerable them IT professionals so they were technically sensitive
       b) Slogans, speeches, banners and handmade posters at venue gave expression to resentments of different types caused government policies and actions and political                  parties failures to address real issues that affect people life everyday
       c) Issues like drought, farmer suicides, Cauvery dispute, demonetisation, prohibition of liquor, sand mining, corruption, freebies and so on- all converged on the theme of                 jallikattu which was seen as sense of pride of TN
       d) Protesters expressed their disillusionment with the rulers and their policies through skits, songs, dances and speeches besides banners and bunting
       e) The youths also rose in unison against the communal forces which they saw as trying to homogenize culture and erase the secular character of state
• Leaders of political parties gave negative comments about Tamil culture and about protesters
• The paradox of this jallikattu centric movement was that it could attract people from all walks of life, the haves and have nots, the working class and white collar workers including those who had never seen sport
• Civil society members irrespective of religion, caste, gender came in support of jallikattu protests
• The protest is new phenomenon. It is baffling that interpretations range from romanticizing it as a revolution to condescendingly discrediting it as an instance of mobocracy to reducing it to a law and order
• There was a public outrage when videos went viral of police personnals smashing cars and beating people and burning fish markets

Movement and it problems:

(Related Article: Lessons for parties, by R.K. Radhakrishnan, page no. 22)

• The fact that a youth movement had gathered steam in TN despite several handicaps is noteworthy
• In other states, political parties treat student, youth, women and trade union movements as fertile ground to locate new political talent but no so in TN
• Few student political movements in TN
          a) First was during the anti hindi agitation of 1965. It was pan TN movement cutting across sections
          b) Second big student youth was protest came in 1972 after ouster of MGR from DMK
          c) Third was short listed in 1983 following massacre of Tamil prisoners in SL’s Welikada prison

The legal tangle:

(Related Article: The Legal Tangle, by V. Venkatesan, page no. 25)

• PCA act 2017, that TN assemble passed on January 24 in wake of widespread protests in state against the ban on jallikattu is the latest in a series of attempts by legislature, judiciary and executive to tweak the law either to include or exclude the controversial sport from rigours of PCA, 1960
• Section 2(d) of this Act defines “domestic animal” as anu animal which is tamed or which has been or is being sufficiently tamed to serve some purpose for the use of man or which although it neither has been nor is intended to be so tamed is or has become in fact wholly or partly tamed
• Section 3 of central act says that it shall be the duty of every person having the care or charge of any animal to take all reasonable measures to ensure the well being of such animal and to prevent the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering
• Section 11(3) lists five exceptions to this which include the dehorning of cattle, destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers, extramination of any animal under threat
• Section 27 of central act deals with two exemptions to the chapter “Performing Animals”
• Madras HC turned down decision of subordinate court and allowed jallikattu but SC turned the tables and completely banned all the sports
• The 2014 judgement justified the exceptions under Section 11(3) of central act on the doctrine of necessity. It clearly held that entertainment, exhibition or amusement do not fall under the existing exempted categories and cannot be claimed as a matter of right under the doctrine of necessity

Cry for Kambala:

(Related Article: Cry of Kambala, by Vikhar Ahmed Sayyed, page no. 31)

• Mass protests in TN against the ban on jallikattu have galvanized people in Karnataka, particulary in the two coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi to demand revocation of ban on Kambala
• Kannada activists, politicians, actors came together in support of Kambala
• Kambala is the name given to marshy land where the buffaloes run. This ritual is an intrinsic part of religious and social culture of undivided Dakshina Kannada district and extends across all communities and classes
• It is linked to economy, culture, leisure and entertainment
• Problem is that it led to caste manifestation as cattle owners came from high caste whereas the trainers and cleaners come from lower caste
• Kambal turned out to be professional sport with artificial tracks etc.

 

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