Jallikattu, the bull taming sport, was conducted in several districts in Tamil Nadu on Sunday amid protests in various places. Protesters continued to swell in numbers across the state, including Chennai’s Marina Beach, the epicentre of the stir for the last six days.
The protests continued in Madurai’s Alanganallur where people refused to hold the famous sport till there was a permanent solution and not just an ordinance. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam could not inaugurate the bull taming sport at the scheduled time at Alanganallur and was forced to leave for Chennai.
Alanganallur is the only place where Jallikattu is held as an official function of the government. The protesters raised slogans that ordinance was only a temporary measure and demanded a permanent solution for holding the sport, besides a ban on animal rights group PETA.
Jallikattu took place in Pudukottai and Erode districts while a bullock cart race was organised in Coimbatore. According to NDTV reports, the sport was held in Manapparai in Tiruchirappali district in a peaceful manner. The ruling AIADMK tweeted that more than 500 young people tried to tame 100 bulls in the event. No political representative was present at the event. In Udumalai and Thirupur, more than 30 bulls were brought out. The reports said that in Pudukottai, the Jallikattu event was inaugurated by Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar and hundreds of youngsters are taking part in the event.
During the event in Pudukottai district, where scores of people and several bulls took part, two persons were killed at Rapoosal and 83 others suffered minor injuries. A man died due to dehydration in Madurai during protests, police said. The people injured during the incident in Pudukottai district were discharged after providing first-aid, they said. The police said that two persons were killed when they were gored by a bull.
In Madurai, Chandramohan (48) from Jaihindpuram, died due to dehydration when he was taking part in the protests along with students and youths, police said. At Tirunelveli, some students, including girls, fainted at a protest venue following which they were given medical treatment, police said.
After Panneerselvam could not inaugurate the bull taming sport at Alanganallur, he said that the people there could organise the sport at time of their choice. Speaking to reporters in Madurai on his way back to Chennai, the Chief Minister said: “Jallikattu is being held at several places in the state with proper arrangements. At Alanganallur it will be held when the people want it. “Jallikattu cannot be stopped by anybody,” Panneerselvam added.
After Alanganallur, Panneerselvam was expected to inaugurate Jallikattu at Natham Kovilpatti in Dindigul. However, there were protests there too, raising the same demand.As protesters demanded a permanent solution for holding the sport, Panneerselvam said, the “State’s Jallikattu Ordinance route is permanent, robust and sustainable, will be made into a law in the coming Assembly session”.
An Ordinance has been promulgated for holding Jallikattu, after which the sport was organised in several parts of the state. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court anticipating challenge to its ordinance allowing Jallikattu in the state. Following unrelenting protests, DMK and other Opposition parties urged the Centre to take steps for conducting the sport annually without any hindrance.
Jallikattu, a popular game in Tamil Nadu, involves young men latching on to the hump of bulls. Those who manage to stay put even after the animal makes three jumps is declared a winner. At times, the participants are thrown off the back of bulls or get gored by the animal.
The events took place after a week-long state-wide protests by students and youths and followed the promulgation of an ordinance by the Tamil Nadu government amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to hold Jallikatttu. The sport was banned by the Supreme Court in May 2014.