With protesters picketing the venue of the Jallikattu event at Alanganallur in Madurai district on Sunday, the Tamil Nadu government is mulling over the feasibility of shifting it to a more suitable spot at Kovilpatti in dindigul district.
However, latest reports say agitations have broken out in Kovilpatti too.
Security has been stepped up at Alanganallur, where protesters have blocked entry to the main event venue because they are unhappy with the ordinance passed by the government for conducting the bull-taming sport. They claim the ordinance is just a stop-gap arrangement that’s open to legal scrutiny, and a more permanent solution must be found to ensure that Jallikattu is held without any hassles year after year.
Sources in the district administration said efforts were on to make the protesters see reason, and the event could go ahead as planned in Madurai – with chief minister O Panneerselvam inaugurating the event – if they succeed. However, talks with protesters have failed so far.
A few villagers have begun raising other demands in the knowledge that they have the government on the mat. “We will not move an inch from here,” said a protester at Alanganallur. “The government may beat us up, or even try to kill us. But we are not afraid.”
Protesters have parked vehicles on the road leading to the Jallikattu venue – blocking access – and are preventing the organisers from going ahead with the preparations. Madurai collector Veera Raghava Rao and other officials were trying to reason with the protesters, and police have been kept on standby.
State chief secretary Girija Vaidyanathan is also expected to reach Madurai soon.
Rajashekhar, president of the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Pervai (Jallikattu federation) in Madurai, expressed helplessness over the situation. “With villagers in such a mood, it would be impossible to hold Jallikattu at Alanganallur today. It’s unfortunate, but the people are adamant,” he said.
Another Jallikattu organiser told Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity that certain elements were “changing goalposts every day”, despite getting an opportunity to hold the event. “They are negating the efforts of the Tamil people over the last four years,” he said.
However, Jallikattu celebrations were reported at several places across the state – such as Pudupatti village in Thanjavur district, where 500 youngsters tackled as many as 100 bulls. Ten people were adjudged as the winners, and awarded prizes.