Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday urging the latter to consider promulgating an ordinance to resume the sport Jallikattu on Pongal this year. The bull-fighting sport had been banned by the Supreme Court in May 2014 owing to animal welfare issues.
“Given that Pongal festival, which holds great importance to the people of Tamil Nadu, is less than a week away and Jallikattu is an integral part of the Pongal festivities, considering the urgency of the issue, Government of India should consider promulgating an ordinance removing the legal impediments, enabling the conduct of Jallikattu during Pongal, 2017,” he said in the letter.
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Panneerselvam also added that even Jayalalithaa had put forth a demand to Modi that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests “should clearly denotify bulls as performing animals from a 2011 notification by the Ministry. The other demand was to “suitably amend Section 11(3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 by introducing a new clause ‘f’ in sub-section (3) of Section 11 specifically exempting Jallikattu in addition to other exemptions already provided in the Act,” reports PTI. The chief minister said that there has been “no action yet from government of India” on the aforesaid suggestions.
Earlier in the day, South Indian actor Kamal Hasan also spoke out in the favour of jallikattu saying if people were banning the sport, they should give up biryani as well. “If you want a ban on jallikattu, let’s also ban biryani… I’m a big fan of jallikattu.”
The BJP’s state unit too had accused the Animal Welfare Board of India of working at the behest of “petro-dollar mafia”. “Last year it was sub-judice so we could not bring an ordinance that is why we have issued an executive order permitting Jallikattu, but again it is being contested by all these people. I want to reiterate that the Animal Welfare Board is acting at the behest of the petro dollar mafia at the international level,” BJP leader H Raja told news agency ANI.
WATCH VIDEO | DMK, AIADMK Slam Centre For Reportedly Making Pongal A ‘Restricted’ Holiday
The BJP also criticised former environment minister Jairam Ramesh for amending the Animal Welfare Act, 2011 and bring bulls under the “exhibiting animals” list. “Until 2011, there was no issue surrounding Jallikattu at all. It was only after the UPA government comprising of DMK, that they amended an act bringing the bull into the list of exhibiting animals and they have termed Jallikatu as cruelty to animal. All those nonsense were brought in by the UPA government when Jairam Ramesh was environment minister,” he added.
Political parties, including DMK, have been pressing the Centre and state government to take steps to hold the sport coinciding with Pongal this year. Protests have also been held across the state by Jallikattu supporters, demanding that the sport be held this year coinciding with Pongal.
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