Tamil Nadu: Jallikattu begins in Madurai under Supreme Court guidelines
The traditional bull-taming sport—Jallikattu—began in Avaniyapuram village of Tamil Nadu's Madurai on Sunday amid plans for large-scale celebrations in the state. Nearly 800 players are expected to participate in the event. However, only 25 players will play at one time, as per high court guidelines. Meanwhile, several injuries have been reported on the first day despite extra security in place along with three-level barricading.
Why does this story matter?
- Jallikattu is happening on full-scale after almost three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It was held last year also but under strict COVID-19 restrictions.
- The traditional sport faced criticism from various quarters especially animal rights activists, who believed it puts animals to cruelty.
- In 2014, the sport was also banned by the Supreme Court under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Three-level barricade installed to ensure extra safety, says official
While giving about the event Madurai District Collector Aneesh Sekhar said, "We've made all arrangements for smooth conduct of Jallikattu ensuring the safety of bulls as well as players." Three-level barricading has been put in to ensure extra safety of bulls and spectators, he said, per India Today. Notably, the Tamil Nadu government had recently notified elaborate guidelines for Jallikattu events.
Visuals of Jallikattu event that began in Madurai on Sunday
#WATCH | Tamil Nadu: Jallikattu begins in Avaniyapuram of Madurai. pic.twitter.com/ESqsaokmo4— ANI (@ANI) January 15, 2023
Jallikattu event structured according to court directives
According to reports, this year's all Jallikattu events have been planned under the directions and regulations of the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu High Court, and the state government. Under the high court, only 25 players have been allowed in the arena at one time to ensure safety and avoid accidents. "We're expecting more than 800 players to participate," ANI quoted Sekhar as saying.
Several injuries were reported in Jallikattu events
Meanwhile, officials said nearly 19 people were injured in the Avaniyapuram village during Jallikkattu on Sunday. They have been referred to Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai for further treatment. On Saturday, 15 people were injured in a similar event in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district. Notably, the sport is held as part of the celebrations of the Pongal festival.
What is Jallikattu?
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.
Legal scenario for Jallikattu
Supreme Court banned Jallikattu many times in the past after several pleas by the Animal Welfare Board of India claiming the death of 43 people and four bulls between 2008 and 2014. However, it was allowed with some guidelines following the mass protests and support by several celebrities. The Central government had also come in support of the sport in the Supreme Court.