Emphasising on the “historic, cultural and religious significance of the event”, the central government has decided to allow use of bulls in south India’s ‘Jallikattu’ festivals by amending the list of animals prohibited from being trained for performances.
In its latest affidavit, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that it has removed the ‘bull’ from the list of animals not to be exhibited or trained as performing animals. The list was issued in accordance with a notification in July 2011.
“In order to strike a balance and to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders including the animals, while keeping in mind the historic, cultural and religious significance of the event and with a view to ensure that no unnecessary pain or suffering is caused to the animals, participants and spectators, the government of India proposes to exempt ‘bulls’ participating in ‘Jallikattu’ in the state of Tamil Nadu from the purview of the 2011 notification,” stated the affidavit.
The affidavit, which has been filed by M Geetanjali, secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forest, will be taken up by a bench led by Justice K S Radhakrishnan on Wednesday. Along with revisiting the list of animals, the government has also proposed guidelines for the organisers of the event of ‘Jallikattu’ by asking the district authorities and administration to take extreme care to ensure that no unnecessary harm was caused to the animals.
In those places which had witnessed casualty or injuries in preceding year, the organisers have now been told to deposit Rs 5 lakh for each casualty and Rs 2 lakh for each serious injury. The amount would be returned in case no such untoward incident took place.
Besides putting in barricades and enclosure, it has also directed to ensure that proper physical examination of the animals was undertaken before the event. It has also been ordered that to ensure that no performance enhancement drug was administered to the animal.
The animal welfare activists are up in arms against Jallikattu for the past several years. They want the age-old sport to be banned for what they call it as massive cruelties to animals.
After a single judge of the Madras High Court had banned the sport few years ago, the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, where a batch of petitions are now pending for final disposal.
The SC had also once noted that Jallikattu was nothing but a sport inflicting massive cruelty to animals but allowed it under stringent conditions on vehement request by the Tamil Nadu government.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.