Police Block Chennai Beach Stretch Fearing Jallikattu-Like Protest
The Chennai police cordoned off the Marina and Besant Nagar beaches on Sunday,1 April, following a flash protest as tensions across Tamil Nadu intensified over the non-formation of the Cauvery Management Board. Police personnel are taking measures to avoid a repeat of the January 2017 situation, when thousands gathered at the city’s Marina beach to protest the ban on Jallikattu.
They began clearing the protesters when the latter began raising slogans against the Centre and held placards demanding the formation of the Cauvery Management Board. The police also reportedly stopped vehicles from entering the service lane of the Kamarajar Salai. Pedestrians were allowed after they were frisked, The Hindu reported.
According to The Times of India, the beach was cordoned off till Sunday afternoon, and the usual crowds began to throng the beach after 5 pm.
On 16 February, the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the Cauvery water sharing dispute, which reduced TN’s share of water by 14.75 tmc ft. It also directed the Centre to “frame a scheme” so as to implement its orders within six weeks.
The formation of the Cauvery Management Board has been a point of contention between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Political parties in Tamil Nadu have been pressuring the Centre to set up the CMB. They insist that a neutral body is required to ensure Cauvery water is released on time, given that the Karnataka government has not complied with directions in the past.
The deadline to set up the CMB was 29 March. As this was not upheld, on Saturday the Tamil Nadu government filed a contempt of court petition against Union Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and Water Resources Secretary UP Singh for not setting up the board as directed by the Supreme Court.
In January 2017, thousands of pro-Jallikattu protesters gathered at Chennai’s Marina beach, demanding that the ban on the sport be lifted. What started off with the gathering of a small group of people turned into a large-scale protest with thousands of students, professionals, and celebrities gathering at the beach, spending night after night at the venue for nearly a week. The protests nearly ground Chennai to a stand-still.
(This story was originally published on The News Minute and has been republished here with permission)