No Jallikattu this Pongal in Tamil Nadu : The disputed bull running sport Jallikattu that has been opposed by animal rights activists but backed by politicians in Tamil Nadu, has been held in abeyance by the Supreme Court, just five days after the union government lifted a ban on the sport.
The court has effectively ensured that the sport cannot be held this year by fixing the next hearing for March.
Jallikattu is normally held to celebrate the winter harvest and “Pongal” season.
With State elections due later this year in Tamil Nadu, all political parties have been goading the Centre to sanction the sport. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, prompting him to use an executive order or ordinance to permit the sport to be held. Jayalalithaa like other politicians, had lobbied heavily for the event to be allowed,
“A lot of safeguards are in place and the event must be allowed,” the Tamil Nadu government argued in the top court today, adding that the sport “has been in vogue for centuries”. The Centre said that animal rights activists have “no fundamental right” to challenge the sport. The Supreme Court will hear the matter next on March 15.
Bulls are let loose as young men compete to quash them during the centuries-old tradition of Jallikattu, which means “bull-taming”. After the previous UPA government imposed a ban citing cruelty, the event was cancelled last year for the first time.
Unlike in the popular Spanish traditional of bull-fighting, the aim of Jallikattu is not to kill the animals. But critics say they are fed liquor and have chili powder thrown into their eyes before they are released from a holding pen and chased by revellers. There have also been reports of bulls having their horns sharpened with broken glass, while the “taming” can lead to serious injury and a painful death for the animals.
Over the years, dozens of people have also been killed and hundreds more wounded in the event.