Intelligence inputs have stated that warnings about 'agenda-based groups' attempting to penetrate the Jallikattu protests went unheeded and that this negligence may have led to the violence that Chennai witnessed on Monday. In a leaderless agitation, with no clear representation, the Marina protest had become a free for all and the opportunity was ripe to peddle 'anti-national' agenda, said state intelligence officers.
Celebrities like actor Raghava Lawrence, RJ Balaji, Hip-hop Tamizha who soon became the face of Jallikattu protests at Marina beach also became the point of contact for many in authority. Some were also warned of anti-social and anti-national elements attempting to divert attention from Jallikattu and propagate agenda-based ideologies but no warnings were paid any heed.
Days of peaceful protests ended with arson, blockade, violence and vandalism across the city of Chennai. The same was prophetically conveyed to the protesters after strong intelligence inputs, claim officers. "The crowds were overwhelming. Most announcements were made on public address systems but sensitive issues could not be addressed on the same. We tried to speak to representatives but, neither were they actual leaders nor was the crowd willing to listen to them. Because of the heterogeneous nature of the crowd, there was no single point of communication. Making the crowd understand that there were anti-national and anti-social elements mingling with genuine protesters became difficult," said an officer on the condition of anonymity.
Vested interests wanted to keep protests going
Officials also believe that the Marina movement went beyond a students' movement on day three. Posters against India, placards threatening to boycott republic day, people propagating anti-India sentiments emerged on day three of the protests. Many volunteers were supplying food, water and biscuit packets and none know where all the supplies came from. Officials believe that some of the packets were distributed to protesters with anti-India, pro-LTTE, anti-national messages on them. "Our first instinct when anti-India material emerged was to use the student volunteers on the ground to curb such messages but not much could be done once again since this was a leaderless protest," an officer added.
What started off as a protest demanding Jallikattu soon turned into a never-ending list of demands by protesters. "First they said they were condemning the inaction by Tamil Nadu government when the government acted they protested demanding Jallikattu event. An ordinance was passed on Saturday and the protesters were informed that the event would take place on Sunday. Once again they extended protests and demanded a permanent solution," claimed an officer who was present at Marina since the day protests began.
"Despite the promise of a bill in the assembly, they were not ready to give up. Each time a section of the protesters agreed to leave Marina, a handful would emotionally threaten them to extend protest. Since it was an emotionally fuelled protest, it was very easy for a handful of people to dictate the path of protest. The situation got difficult when some people stopped others from leaving Marina despite the bill on Jallikattu being passed. Keeping the protest alive for vested interests was the aim of those who infiltrated the Jallikattu protests," he added.
The videos shot by the Chennai police are being verified by experts to identify those who engaged the protesters at Marina with anti-national issues and attempted to spread hatred for a person, party and ideology. Officials also claimed that while those involved in violence are being identified and will be brought to the books, the same will apply to police personnel accused of vandalism.