Tamil Nadu is witnessing intense protests over the Supreme Court’s refusal to lift the ban on Jallikattu during pongal season. This follows the Centre’s decision to allow the state along with some others to continue animal sports as a part of their respective cultural practices.
Animal rights group PETA too had urged President Pranab Mukherjee to not pass any ordinance offering permission to continue the bull taming sports. Its move came a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to promulgate an ordinance allowing holding of Jallikattu, a 3000-year-old sport, which has become a hot political issue in an election year.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and N V Ramana said the court is not inclined to vacate the stay, while hearing the urgently moved pleas of some Tamil Nadu residents and a group called Compassion Unlimited Plus Action. The bench has also expressed its discontent by saying that it was unimpressed with the arguments that Jallikattu should be allowed under the supervision of the court, by appointing court commissioners who could submit reports on the event and the claim that it was a socio-religious harvest festival and not entertainment.
“The aforesaid submission leaves us unimpressed, for the simon-pure (genuine) reason (that) the two-Judge Bench of this Court, as it appears, had discussed many facets with regard to Jallikattu and expressed its opinion. The arrangements made on the basis of the notification would not warrant alteration of our order and, therefore, we are not inclined to vacate the order of stay,” the bench said.
With this order, protests intensified across Tamil Nadu, mainly in areas like Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Pudukottai and Salem. In Chennai, activists of the ‘May 17 Movement’ and ‘Tamilar Munnetra Padai’ staged demonstrations seeking measures by the Centre to facilitate Jallikattu. In Tiruchirappalli district, a man attempted to set himself ablaze but police overpowered and removed him from the spot.