Indian students shout slogans and hold placards during a demonstration against the ban on the Jallikattu bull-taming ritual at Marina Beach, Chennai. Photo: AFP / Arun Sankar

As protests continued to rage in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu over the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu – a bull-taming sport linked to the harvest festival Pongal – Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the state’s Chief Minister, O Panneeselvam, on Thursday that the federal government could not pass ordinance allowing the sport to be practised as the matter is sub judice.

Modi said he appreciated the cultural significance of jallikattu but could not go against India’s top court, which has refused to budge on the matter despite the anger the ban has provoked.

Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said hysteria would not solve anything.

In Tamil Nadu’s capital, Chennai, farmers and businessmen joined students for a third day of ‘Occupy Marina’ protests at Marina Beach. Some 15,000 gathered there, with protests spreading to other parts of the state too. Colleges and schools remained closed.

People in Madurai observed ‘Black Pongal’ by carrying black flags and rallying to denounce PETA. In Salem, pro-jallikattu protesters blocked trains. Saskilala Natarajan, chief of the ruling AIADMK party, has promised to “rein in PETA.”

E Bhargavi, a homemaker from Irinjalakuda, Kerala, told Asia Times: “What began as a political protest over jallikattu ban is becoming a mass movement by Tamil youths angry and frustrated with various parties.”

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