Jallikattu – All you need to know about
- Also known as Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju virattu, Jallikattu is a traditional bull-taming sport organised in Tamil Nadu during Pongal. According to some historical accounts, the practice dates back to as far as 2000 years ago. It was mainly active in the Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul districts of Tamil Nadu until its ban in 2011.
- The name jallikattu is derived from the word ‘salli’ meaning coins and ‘kattu’ meaning bundle or pouch.
- Here the bull is released into the open area with crowd of people and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump of the bull with both arms and hang on to it while the bull is attempting to escape. Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. No ropes or other tools are allowed.
The controversy over Jallikattu:
- The Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoEF) issued a notification in 2011 that banned the use of bulls as performing animals, thereby banning the sport. But the sport was continued to be conducted under Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act 2009.
- In May 2014, the Supreme Court of India struck down the state law and banned the sport. The SC noted that any flouting of the ban should result in penalties for cruelty to animals under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
- The Apex court also asked the centre to amend the law on preventing cruelty to animals to bring bulls within its ambit. On 8th Jan 2016, the MoEF permitted the continuation of the tradition under certain conditions effectively ending the ban.
- The Animal Welfare Board of India challenged the permission in Supreme court and court on 12th Jan 2016 ordered a stay to sport and issued notices to the central and Tamil Nadu government.
- The Tamil Nadu government on 21st Jan 2016 promulgated an ordinance allowing jallikattu, after people organized massive protests aginst the Supreme Court’s ban.
- On 23rd Jan 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously passed “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Bill, 2017” to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
- The Bill defines jallikattu as an event involving bulls conducted with a view to following tradition and culture from January to May and it includes similar events like ‘manjuviratu’, ‘vadamadu’ and ‘erudhuvidum’ festivals.
Tamilians protest on ban:
- The Jallikattu protests are fuelled by the view that the ban impinges on the cultural identity of the Tamilians, which is being practiced since thousands of years.
- The apex court’s ban also brought down the market value of sport bulls.
- The ban on Jallikattu discourages the rearing of native breeds, which yields comparatively less milk than other cross breed cows
The way ahead:
- The Tamil Nadu assembly unanimously passed the bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Now, the jallikattu will be conducted with the customary fervour all over the state with all necessary safeguards.
- Animal rights activists challenges this new law of government in Supreme court everything about Jallikattu will be depends on apex court’s move.