The Tamil Nadu government has sent a draft ordinance for the Centre’s approval, chief minister O Panneerselvam said on Friday, and holding out hope that the popular bull-taming sport could be held within a day or two.
The chief minister’s remarks came a day after he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Supreme Court’s ban that has sparked a fresh wave of protests across a state hurt bythe what many believe is an attack on Tamil culture.
“An ordinance will be promulgated for conducting Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu,” the chief minister told reporters in Delhi and added state government officials were working with the Centre to finalise the draft of the amendments.
“I had detailed discussions with constitutional experts regarding amendments to be enacted on the Jallikattu law by the state,” he said.
He said “there are full chances that Jalikattu will be organised within 1-2 days” and requested protesters to call off their stir.
Sources in the AIADMK told HT the state government has exercised considerable pressure on the Centre to ensure that the home ministry approves the ordinance quickly.
After the draft ordinance is vetted by the ministry, it will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee. Upon his approval, the ordinance will be sent to acting Tamil Nadu governor Vidyasagar Rao, who will officially promulgate it.
Sources said the ordinance is expected to be passed on Friday and delivered to Rao by evening.
The chief minister’s announcement was greeted with loud cheers and claps at Chennai’s Marina beach – which has turned into the ground zero of the pro-Jallikattu demonstrations – but protesters said they would consider withdrawing the stir only after a formal order comes out.
“We will not withdraw unless Jallikattu is held and PETA is banned,” said one of the protesters, articulating the anger against the animal rights group that had actively campaigned for the ban.
The agitation intensified on Friday with most of the trade unions, business associations, transport unions, taxi and auto unions, and bank employees’ unions calling a bandh in the capital.
Schools across the state also suspended classes for the day in support of the ancient sport, banned by the top court in 2014 on grounds of animal cruelty.
The opposition DMK and performing artistes also launched separate protests for lifting of the ban on Jallikattu that has turned into a symbol of Tamil pride.
The DMK announced its leaders and workers will block trains across the state while grammy award-winning composer AR Rahman will sit on day-long fast at the Marina Beach.
Police said the growing number of protesters had become a matter of concern.
“We fear that the protests could get violent or a stampede could lead to loss of lives. It is hard to contain the outrage,” said deputy police commissioner G Shasshank Sai.
Critics say hundreds of raging bulls are injured annually because participants twist their tails, beat them and even stab them with knives to control the animals.
More than 1,200 spectators have been injured at such events between 2010 and 2014, according to PETA.
Hindu religious leaders and organisations including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) too backed the demand for allowing Jallikattu, a hazardous sport in which youths and men wrestle rampaging bulls.
“(It is ) not a bull fight, it’s embracing the bull. You should see how (the) bull also loves the sport and engages itself,” ANI quoted Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev as saying.