Osama bin Laden photos shown during jallikattu protests: Panneerselvam

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam. | Photo Credit: S.R. Raghunathan

Chief Minister makes a detailed statement in the Assembly on the pro-jallikattu protests and the subsequent police action

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Friday said various “anti-social elements” and organisations “infiltrated” the week-long pro-jallikattu protests on the Marina Beach in Chennai with the intention of “diverting” it.

He said there was also photographic evidence of some holding pictures of deceased terrorist Osama bin Laden during the protests.

Mr. Panneerselvam promised that the “evil forces” behind the violence here on Monday last would be identified and brought to book.

Following the police announcement early on January 23, asking the protesters to leave the beach, about 10,000 of them dispersed and about 2,000 stayed back.

“Various organisations and anti-social elements infiltrated the pro-jallikattu protests [on the Marina] with the intention of diverting it,” he said.

Making a detailed statement in the Assembly after Opposition Leader MK Stalin sought his explanation over the police lathicharge on protesters here on Monday, Mr. Panneerselvam said the police had received information that some of the protesters wanted to prolong the stir till Republic Day.

Those belonging to such organisations “wanted to show black flags and create problems” on January 26.

“Some even raised separate Tamil Nadu demands and there is photographic proof of some holding pictures of Osama bin Laden with ‘Boycott Republic Day’ slogans,” he said.

‘Public life safeguarded’

Even during the violence, for which he put the blame on “anti-national, anti-social elements, besides miscreants”, the police used “minimum force” to disperse the “unlawful” persons and safeguarded public life and property, the Chief Minister said. He assured the House that the “evil forces” behind the violence would be identified and action taken against them.

Quite a few policemen sustained injuries and many police vehicles were also damaged by miscreants during Monday’s violence, he said.

Mr. Panneerselvam, who said the jallikattu ban was implemented in 2011 during the days of the UPA, in which the DMK was a constituent, also recalled the sustained efforts of his predecessor, late Jayalalithaa, and himself for the conduct of the bull taming sport.

He also explained in detail the circumstances leading to the government issuing an ordinance last week, following his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which the latter promised the Centre’s support to the State’s legal endeavours on the issue.