Jallikattu Protest Day 2019: Jallikattu is a traditional spectacle which is also referred as bull taming event that typically practised in Indian State of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day, the third day of the four-day Pongal festival. The term ‘Jallikattu’ is derived from the Tamil words ‘Salli Kaasu’ and ‘Kattu’. Salli Kaasu refers to gold or silver coins while Kattu means ‘Tied’. Jallikattu is also known as Eru Thazhuvuthal and Manju Virattu. Manju Virattu takes place mostly in districts of Madurai, Theni, Pudukottai, Tanjore and Salem.
Jallikattu is renowned as an ancient ‘sport’, that have been practised some 2500 years ago. It is controversial because it often results in major injuries and even deaths. The sport will be played with a Bos indicus bulls like Pulikulam and Kangayam breeds which are released into a crowd of people, and a number of human participants attempt to grab the large hump on the bull’s back with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape. The Participant who holds the hump for as long as possible and attempting to bring the bull to a stop will receive the prize. In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove the flag which is tied on the bull’s horn. During the event, prizes are announced to encourage the youth to participate.
After the event, controlled bulls are used for agriculture and domestic activities. The untameable Bos indicus bulls are used for breeding cows. This ensures that both the ecosystem and the ancient sport will work well together. These bulls also fetch higher prices in the markets.
Jallikattu has been practised for during the Tamil classical period (400-100 BC). Jallikattu which is also referred as Eru thazhuvuthal and Manju Virattu was common among the ancient people Aayars who lived in the ‘Mullai’ geographical division of the ancient Tamil country. Later, it became a platform for the display of bravery and prize money was introduced for participation encouragement.
In 1930, a well-preserved seal found at Mohenjodaro, an Indus Valley Civilization which is available in the National Museum, New Delhi. A cave painting in white kaolin found near Madurai portraying a man trying to control a bull. It is estimated to be about 1,500 years old.
Several rock paintings, more than 3,500 years old were found at the remote Karikkiyur village in Tamil Nadu.
Jallikattu Protest Day is also known as pro-jallikattu movement or Thai Puratchi. On 17 January 2017, a small group of 50 peoples blocked the Beach Road, the route used by the Tamil Nadu chief minister, other ministers and high court judges to reach the secretariat at Fort St George. They wanted to meet the Chief Minister to present their demands. Soon in the evening, 5,000 people have joined the protest to save the ancient sport in several locations across the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
On 27 November 2010, the Supreme Court permitted the Tamil Nadu Government to allow Jallikattu for five months in a year. Also, the court instructed the District Collectors to make sure that the animals that participate in Jallikattu are registered to the Animal Welfare Board. While Jallikattu, the Board members would send its representative to monitor the event.
The Government of Tamil Nadu ordered that ₹2 lakh be deposited by the organizers in case of an accident or injury during the event. Also, the government enacted a rule to allow a team of veterinarians be present at the venue for certifying the bulls for participation in the event and to provide treatment for Bos indicus bulls that get injured.
The Main motivation of the protest was against the Supreme Court’s order to ban jallikattu. The Supreme Court banned the ancient sport after the animals based on a lawsuit filed the complaint that human hurts the bull by controlling them. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights activists group have asserted the sport as tradition violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA).
On 8 January 2017, a first large protest occurred with several groups. It organised largely via social media and conducted a protest at the Marina beach in Chennai to revoke the ban on jallikattu which was imposed in 2014.
Veteran actor Kamal Haasan lauded the Tamilians’ relentless mind tireless manner during the protest in his Twitter account.
On 16 January 2017, villagers of Alanganallur protested at Alanganallur ‘Vaadi Vaasal’ near Madurai. The place is known for the jallikattu sport on that date, the sport was also practised in defiance of the ban. The Jallikattu ceremony is conducted here during the Pongal festival, to choose the best breed, which occurs during the annually on January 14. Many Indian people will visit Alanganallur during this festival to watch Jallikattu.
After a day-long protest, police arrested the 200 protesters in Madurai. The next day, students gathered in Marina Beach in support of arrested protesters and the crowds started swelling for the night and few hundred spent their night in beach and continued to gather strength throughout the next day.
The protests were spontaneous and had no specific organizers. The protest was initially formed by members of Student community across the state which was further strengthened by people from various sections such as IT professionals and Cine actors who joined later. The lack of leader was seen as a stumbling block for the state government because it could not call people for talks. The protest was largely peaceful and at the same time, a Police have done a few Baton charge.
On 19 January 2017, many volunteer groups and individuals once again gathered at the Marina beach for overnight protests. The protests are not just confined to Chennai but thousand gathered across the state in prominent places like Thamukam Grounds in Madurai, VOC Ground in Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Erode, Court Road in Trichy, Vellore Fort in Vellore, Tirupur, Salem, Nagercoil, Thanjavur and also in Indian Union Territory of Puducherry.
Tamil youths from other states express solidarity with jallikattu protesters in Tamil Nadu. There was a demonstration in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and New Delhi. Support for the protest also came from Tamil people around the world such as in Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, Singapore, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, China, Russia, Switzerland, Ireland, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, France, South Africa, and Finland.
These groups also demanded that PETA should be banned from India. The protests soon gained momentum and spread all over Tamil Nadu. Slogans were shouted against the animal rights organization PETA, alleging an international conspiracy favouring extinction of Tamil Nadu’s rare cattle breed, and replacing them with Jersey cows from Denmark and Switzerland.
Deputy Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O.Paneerselvam met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pushed for an ordinance. With no sign of protests relenting the centre suggested ordinance by Tamil Nadu Government. On 20 January 2017, the draft ordinance was approved by Home, Environmental and Cultural Ministry.
After a huge protest, Jallikattu was finally legalised locally on 23 January 2017 when the Government of Tamil Nadu passed a bill to amend the PCA Act. As the legalisation is not Indian federal law, but rather state law, Indian legal experts said that there is a chance to ban the ancient sports jallikattu once again by the Supreme Court.
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