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Home > News > PTI

Stay order on bullfight dampens Pongal spirit in rural TN

January 11, 2008 19:13 IST

The Supreme Court's order declining to permit Jallikattu, the traditional bull fight, has come as a dampener in 11 districts of southern Tamil Nadu as the event would be missed, for the first time in its history, during Pongal festivities.

The order against Jallikattu, also a popular attraction for tourists, including foreigners, evoked strong reactions as the order came just days before the January 15 Pongal festival. Jallikattu has been believed to be in vogue since the days of Pandyas in the 13th century to display the valour of the youth.

The organisers of the event and people in many villages planned to organise protests as they had made all arrangements to hold the event on Mattu Pongal, a day observed by the farmers to thank the cattle for their support in the fields.

Banners and posters against the stoppage of the event have sprung up in a number of villages, said local reports.

Murugavel, an organiser of the Jallikattu in Alanganallur village near Madurai, said the stoppage of the event would deprive locals of a very ancient cultural and sport event.

He said almost all the arrangements had been made to hold the sport in which hundreds of bulls and thousands of people take part every year.

Murugan, who runs a trust in Theni district offering first aid to Jallikattu fighters, said the event should not be seen only from the point of view of cruelty against animals, as it does not involve killing of the bulls, unlike the Spanish bull fight.

Moovendar Munnetra Kazhgam founder-president N Sethuraman appealed to Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to use his influence with the Centre to find an alternative way to conduct the jallikattu.

Even an ordinance could be promulgated for this purpose, he said, adding that the ban on the sport would lead to tension in the southern districts.

He said that the order came at a time when the Chief Minister was promoting events like Chennai Sangamam to give a fillip to ancient folk arts by inviting rural artists to Chennai to perform.

However, a local NGO Tamizh Thangi welcomed the order, saying the sport that left several Tamil women as widows, should be stopped. "One cannot accept a human being killed by a bull," its general secretary M Thiraviya Pandian said in a statement.

Ahead of today's order, some organisations and village level committees had held demonstrations opposing any ban on the event.

In Sivaganga district, the native of Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, a committee formed to take up the cause of the sport organised a demonstration on January 7 and also submitted a memorandum at the local constituency office of Chidambaram, urging him to ensure that the event was held without any break.

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