The Supreme Court on Thursday shot down a plea for delivering its judgment on bull-taming sport Jallikattu before the harvest festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu on Saturday. This was followed by protests across Tamil Nadu, with some organisers saying they will organise the sport despite the apex court ruling. A bench led by Justice Dipak Misra told a group of lawyers, who pleaded the court for an early verdict, that it was “completely unfair to ask the bench to pass an order by a particular date”. The bench said the draft of the judgment was ready but it was not possible to deliver it before Saturday when Jallikattu is to be organised. The court had in November reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions, challenging the Centre’s notification allowing the use of bulls in Jallikattu.
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During a hearing in November, the bench had observed that it cannot allow “Roman gladiator-type sports in India”. The court had added that prima facie Jallikattu involves cruelty against animals. Following the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday, students in large numbers hit the streets in Coimbatore and Trichy. A students’ march in Madurai, known for Jallikattu events, turned violent and police resorted to lathi-charge to control the situation. A leading Jallikattu organiser told The Indian Express that they have decided to organise the sport this year even if it meant going against the apex court ruling.
He said, “We have been law-abiding citizens for long. But this time, the Supreme Court too joined the anti-Jallikattu group by refusing to pass the order before January 14. If Kerala can disobey the apex court in the Mullaperiyar issue and Karnataka can defy its order in the Cauvery water issue, why should Tamil Nadu alone obey the Centre’s and the Supreme Court’s biased stand against Tamil culture and people’s sentiments?”
WATCH VIDEO | Jallikattu Organisers Defiant, Say They Will Organise Sport Despite Supreme Court Ruling
Balakumar Somu, a leading supporter of Jallikattu, accused the Centre and the judiciary of taking a biased stand. “When the Supreme Court blindly admitted video evidence from animal rights groups, it forgot two crucial things: these activists neither have a stake in peasants’ life nor a clue about how bulls are part-and-parcel of peasants’ lives. The apex court did not engage a third party to probe the allegations but accepted doctored evidences submitted by animal rights groups,” he said. “Also, there was zero effort from the Centre or Supreme Court to find a middle ground by engaging the Tamil community and two animal organisations to correct alleged wrong practices,” Somu added.