COIMBATORE: As many as 71 bull tamers and five bulls were injured during the jallikattu event held at Chettipalayam near L&T Bypass here on Sunday. Two seriously injured tamers were admitted to hospitals.
The event, organized jointly by the district administration and the Kovai Jallikattu Association, was inaugurated by municipal administration minister SP Velumani. It saw participation of 730 bulls and 600 tamers from districts including Pudukottai, Madurai and Trichy.
Twenty ambulances and 15 doctors were deployed at the venue. The animal husbandry department had deployed 18 teams to check the bulls, before letting them into the arena. “We rejected five animals as their owners failed to submit health and vaccination certificates,” an official with the department said.
Only 430 bulls participated in the event last year, the minister said. “The number has almost doubled this year. Over 1,000 volunteers and 3,000 police personnel were deployed to the control the crowd. The district administration and members of the association were preparing for the event for the last one month and they managed to obtain the government’s approval very early, unlike the last year,” Velumani said.
R Periyasami from Pudukottai said his bull had participated in almost all the jallikattu events that took place in the last two years and never lost even once. “Even though I own three cows, the bull is treated like a king and is fed healthy foods, mainly fruits, because it needs to be fit to participate in the game. Participating and winning the game means a lot to us as it brings great prestige,” he told TOI.
It is not just a matter of prestige, but also about safeguarding a custom, said R Bharathi, a tamer from Madurai, who is into the sport for the last 10 years. “Even when the sport was banned in the state, we used to conduct small events in villages as it has become an addiction without which it is difficult to survive,” he said.
Over one lakh people watched Sunday’s event, the organisers said.
It is the second consecutive year the bull taming sport is conducted in the district since the state government passed an ordinance permitting it after thousands of people, especially students, held a massive protest across the state in 2017.