Determined in their efforts to conduct 'Jallikattu', people in Madurai on Saturdy mounted pressure on the Central and state governments by launching agitations against the ban on the bull taming sport, leading to detention of 149 protesters.
The die-hard supporters of the sport along with major political parties in the state have been demanding an ordinance for conducting Jallikattu after the Supreme Court imposed a ban on it.
While Jallikattu is held in Avaniapuram on Pongal day on Saturday, it shifts to Palamedu and Alanganallur in the district during the next two days.
While 68 villagers were detained at Alanganallur staging a rail roko, several groups of young men led by film director Gowthaman, were held at Avaniapuram bus-stand near Madurai for demanding lifting of the ban on the sport, police said.
"To ensure maintenance of law and order and compliance of Supreme Court orders, we detained Gowthaman and 148 others," Commissioner of Police, Madurai City, Shailesh Kumar Yadav said.
He said while the police allowed the film director to address the gathering for about 15-20 minutes, but his speech became "instigating" later.
On claims that symbolic Jallikattu was held in one or two places to show opposition to the ban, Yadav said, "No Jallikattu was held and nothing will be held. We are ensuring that law is followed."
He said all across the 27 km of the city and suburbs, adequate police personnel have been deployed to ensure that none got anywhere near the 'Vadivaasal' (entry points for bulls to the open grounds where Jallikattu used to be held).
In a village off Alanganallur, a youth climbed a mobile phone tower seeking nod for Jallikattu.
Communist Party of India state secretary R Mutharasan and Pattali Makkal Katchi chief Ramadoss claimed that the protesters were lathicharged at Avaniapuram and demanded action against those responsible.
The police, however, said the protesters were only detained.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party's state president Tamilisai Soundararajan told reporters in Coimbatore that the party had been hopeful and was expecting that the Supreme Court would give a favourable verdict on Jallikkattu. But the postponement of verdict has come as shock to all, she said.
To a specific question on PETA writing to the President to dismiss the Tamil Nadu government if the sport was allowed during Pongal festival, she said the organisation had no right to make such a demand and that the animal rights group should be banned.
Stating that the ban on Jallikattu was imposed in 2012 during the United Progressive Alliance rule, in which the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was an ally, Tamilisai said, "The Dravidian party, which neither came out of the alliance nor from the government, had no moral right to criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue."
"The Centre has taken cautious steps apprehending the possibility of a permanent ban on the traditional Tamil sport if an ordinance is promulgated," she said, adding, even now it is considering taking steps for its conduct.
On demand for resignation of Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan for his failure to see the Jallikkattu through this year, Tamilisai said it was not right to make such a demand.
DMK working president M K Stalin condemned the alleged police lathicharge on the supporters of the sport.
Meanwhile, popular Tamil actress Trisha, who has been targeted by pro-Jallikattu groups for her association with PETA on Friday asserted that she never spoke against the popular sport.
Some Jallikattu supporters had on Friday briefly picketed the site of the shooting of Tamil film "Garjanai", starring Trisha, in Sivaganga district, though the actress was not present at that spot.
Actors Kamal Haasan and Simbu have come out in defence of the leading actress.
Trisha, an animal lover and advocate of animal rights, has appeared in PETA advertisements supporting adoption of homeless dogs.
PETA had been opposing Jallikattu and wrote to the president and the prime minister arguing against any ordinance for holding the bull taming sport in the state.
The animal rights group has come under severe attack from Jallikattu supporters who even demanded that PETA be "banned".