Jallikattu in full swing despite Supreme Court ban

Chennai: Jallikattu protagonists in Tamil Nadu have been defying the Supreme Court ban with impunity. In Madurai, the sport has been going on in full swing since Friday morning. Stalin, the working president of the opposition DMK, has addressed a massive rally in support of the traditional entertainment during Sankranthi festival. He demanded that the Central Government should promulgate an ordinance setting aside the order of the apex court.

He denounced the ruling AIADMK for not putting pressure on the Union Government for a Jallikattu ordinance. Stalin and his sister Kanimozhi led the rally. The protests by the DMK cadres were held across Tamil Nadu. All the speakers blamed the Centre for the ban. The pro-Jallikattu chorus reverberated throughout the State.  It is a major opportunity for Stalin after he took over as working president of the party to demonstrate his organizational skills. They are on ample display.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has, however, written to the Prime Minister a week ago requesting him to bring an ordinance. AIADMK also held demonstrations in Chennai in support of Jallikattu. Pannerselvam repeatedly said that he and his predecessor J Jayalalithaa had written to the Centre requesting for removing the bull from the list of performing animal maintaining by the Environment Ministry.  Both of them had pleaded with the Centre to exempt Jallikattu by amending section 11 (3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.

The Centre has declined to issue an ordinance. Modi Government did not wish to intervene in the sensitive issue.  It has clearly put the ball in the SC’s ‘court’.   The AIADMK Government did not arrest a single person till Friday afternoon for defying the ban. Stalin said all the opposition parties are united in their demand for an ordinance. Many important speakers at India Today South India Conclave, organized a few days ago, had supported the sport as it is part of a very old tradition. He sought Prime Minister Modi’s intervention. Union Minister for I&B M Venkaiah Naidu expressed his support to Jallikattu although he did not criticize the ban. Kamal Haassan, a film legend, had also come out in support of the sport. In the film ‘Virumandi’, Kamal Haasan has played a character that participates in Jallikattu with gusto. Actor and the Congress leader Khushbu Sundar also came out in support of Jallikattu.

The Supreme Court, on its part, expressed anger at the lawyers representing Tamil Nadu for open defiance of its orders in Madurai. The apex court said no one can question its decision. The judges said the court does not owe any explanation for its ban. The traditional event organized around the temple in Madurai has recently become violent with the animals being cruelly treated. This forced the Supreme Court to clamp a ban on the sport in May 2014. But the SC orders are followed only in their breach.

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