Jallikattu issue: ministry uplifts ban

Tamil Nadu: A notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests cleared the ground for Jallikattu events by making an exception for some other traditional bull-related events in other parts of India.

Jallikattu also known Eruthazhuvuthal is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day. It is a traditional ancient sport of Tamil Nadu where it gained popularity in the Tamil classical period amongst the warriors.

The Supreme Court in May 2014 had upheld a 2011 notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and banned bulls for Jallikattu events. It also directed governments and Animal Welfare Board of India to take steps to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. This meant that bulls could not be trained to use in the Jallikattu events.

The ban on Jallikattu had ruined the festive spirit of the Pongal celebrating state especially in areas of southern districts where the popularity of the event is huge.

However, the ban uplifted and it has been anticipated that this exception is a result of immense pressure from a political opinion in Tamil Nadu, including a letter by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa directed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps to permit the traditional events.

The present notification says: “provided that bulls may continue to be exhibited or trained as a performing animal, at events such as Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat in the manner by the customs of any community or practiced traditionally under the customs or a part of culture…”

It also included that bulls shall not be exhibited or trained as performing animals. It can be seen that what started as a simple act of bravado has turned into an act of cruelty towards animals.

Following guidelines are further added: these events shall take place in these areas at such places as the district magistrate or collector explicitly permits, and that the bull once out of the enclosure shall be tamed within a radial distance of 15 metres.

Sources in the Animal Welfare Board of India stated that they will be refuting the order immediately. “We are hoping to make a mention today itself before the court. We anticipated this. We are surprised that the Centre is ready to diminish the stature of a Supreme Court order so brazenly,” a top official said. (picture courtesy: http://jesseroesler.com/)(Inputs from indiatimes.com)