Alanganallur to hold Jallikattu today
Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu's culturally deep-rooted bull-taming sport is set to be organized in Alanganallur today. The Madurai District collector visited the site on Thursday to review the arrangements. Meanwhile, a total of 49 people got injured in the Jallikattu event organized in the Palamedu district which witnessed the registration of 850 bulls. At Avanipuram in Madurai, 37 bull-tamers were injured during the sport.
Jallikattu is a traditional sport in Tamil Nadu that involves hugging or embracing the bull. It is celebrated as a part of the Pongal celebrations on Maatu Pongal (a day after Pongal), the second day of Tamil month Thai. Bulls are specially bred for this event, which is attended primarily by temple bulls - the head of all cattle in a village.
According to the Animal Welfare Board of India, as many as 43 people lost their lives and four bulls died during the controversial bull taming event in 2008-14. At least 5,263 participants and spectators were injured, of which 2,959 were grave injuries. The sport was banned by the Supreme Court in May'14 citing that it violated the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
In 2014, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to amend Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to bring bulls within its ambit. Outlawing such events, it later said bulls weren't anatomically suited for such sports; making them participate would subject them to pain/suffering.
Defying the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu politicians have come out in support of Jallikattu, encouraging others to participate in the controversial bull taming sport. Though on a smaller scale, Jallikattu has been held in at least ten places. Chief Minister Panneerselvam reportedly declared the event would be held this year. Heavy police force was deployed in popular Jallikattu locations like Avaniapuram, Palamedu, and Alanganallur.
As protests against the ban on Jallikattu continue to engulf Tamil Nadu, celebrities like Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan, AR Rahman and Viswanathan Anand came out to support the protestors. AR Rahman, Oscar-winning music composer tweeted saying that he would maintain a fast on Friday to "support the spirit of Tamil Nadu." According to superstar Rajnikanth, holding Jallikattu would keep up traditions of the Tamil culture.
In the latest development, the Centre yesterday speedily cleared the proposal allowing an ordinance on Jallikattu. This has given rise to hopes that large-scale protests in Tamil Nadu will soon come to an end. The ordinance passed most likely contains guidelines prohibiting any cruel behavior towards animals and measures to ensure the safety of spectators. It was also screened by the environment ministry.
The Tamil Nadu assembly passed the Jallikattu bill which was tabled by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. The bill seeks to sidestep the Supreme Court-imposed ban on Jallikattu. The CM had promised protesters that a bill would be passed in this regard. Meanwhile, demonstrations in Chennai turned violent when police attempted to disperse crowds at Marina beach. Protesters allegedly set police vehicles on fire.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay a recent legislation which overrode the court's ban on Jallikattu. To this, Attorney General Mukul Rahotgi, representing the Centre said, "Goats are sacrificed throughout the country during a festival. This is done because the law permits it to do so." SC lashed out on the state government for failing to maintain law and order during protests.