Tamil Nadu shuts down for Jallikattu

Life comes to halt as dawn-to-dusk strike gets unprecedented support in state.

Chennai: Tamil Nadu shut down all activities Friday, closing shops and stopping public transport — buses, trains, autorickshaws and taxis — in support of the massive protests by students seeking revival of the bull-taming festival, Jallikattu.

Chennai’s arterial roads and commercial hubs wore a deserted look as at least two lakh people converged at Marina area.

The dawn-to-dusk strike called by various organisations, including trade unions, got unprecedented support across the state with all shops in every nook and corner voluntarily downing their shutters.

The suburban electric multiple units (EMUs), which usually operate during strikes, also did not operate, bringing life to a halt.

There were also no autorickshaws and taxis. Only a few buses operated as employees of transport unions stayed away from work, responding to a strike call by trade unions in support of the Tamil movement without a leadership.

The only mode of public transport was the Indian Railways-owned Chennai Mass Rapid Transit System (CMRTS), which brought people from other parts of the city to Marina.

The protests continued throughout the city and people came out in large numbers in the western belt, delta districts and northern Tamil Nadu, besides south Tamil Nadu, the hub of Jallikattu protests.

Tamils in other states of the country too gathered to raise their voice. Tamils living in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, the UAE, Algeria, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, the US and the UK, among others, gathered at public places to protest in support of their relatives in Tamil Nadu. They also sent messages on Twitter and other social networks.

All sections of society including doctors, lawyers, farmers and fishermen held protests expressing solidarity with the agitating students.

At least 2,000 mechanised fishing boat owners and thousands of country boat owners did not go out to sea in solidarity with the protesters.

In Rameswaram, all shops remained closed. Following the protests, Southern Railway announced full and partial cancellation of some trains, besides diversion of others.

Private schools were closed and people who were at home were glued to their television sets watching live coverage of the protests.

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