he first jallikattu — a traditional bull-taming sport of Tamil Nadu — of the year 2019 was conducted with 500 bulls in Ariyalur district. The event, organised without prior permission, was stopped midway and a case was filed in this regard.
Bulls were brought by owners from Ariyalur, Thanjavur, Trichy, and Perambalur.
Close to 300 bull-tamers registered themselves and participated in the event. Ten were badly injured and taken to a nearby hospital. Gold coins, cycles, and cots were given as gifts to the winners.
Jallikattu is believed to be a tradition as old as 2,500 years. It is a sport conducted as part of Mattu Pongal, the third day of the four-day-long harvest festival Pongal.
Temple bulls from different villages are brought to a common arena where jallikattu happens.
Ban on sport
On May 7, 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned jallikattu after a 10-year-long battle put up by animal activists and welfare organisations like Federation of India Animal Protection Agencies (FIAPO) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The Supreme Court ruled that flouting the ban would attract penalties and upheld the ban on January 14, 2016, when the Government of India passed an order reversing the ban imposed.
In January 2017, lakhs protested at Tamil Nadu’s Marina Beach against the ban, after which the state government passed an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The events were permitted again after the amendment was approved by the President. PETA challenged the amendment again after which the Supreme Court said a constitutional bench would decide whether jallikattu is a cultural right.