The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday disclosed the details of the ordinance it has brought in to allow Jallikattu in the state, insisting that it is indeed the “permanent solution” that protesters have been asking for.
An extract of the ordinance, which establishes the circumstances in which the bull-taming sport should be held, states that the government has “decided to exempt the conduct of Jallikattu from the provisions of the said Central Act 59 (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)”. According to officials, this goes to show that the ordinance is not the temporary solution made out to be by detractors, but a state amendment made to the 1960 Act. The document also lists out the rules and regulations that must be implemented during Jallikattu events.
The state government, which intended to bask in the glory of its achievement of obtaining the ordinance from the Centre, was unpleasantly surprised when protesters refused to end their demonstrations unless a permanent solution was found. Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam even had to abruptly abandon his plans of inaugurating the main Jallikattu bout at Alanganallur in Madurai district, after angry protesters blocked the entrance to the venue. Attempts to shift the event to Kovilpatti in Dindigul also went in vain.
“No Jallikattu will be held until the government assures us that it will not be banned again,” said Senthil Kumar, a protester at Chennai’s Marina beach.
The chief minister assured protesters that the ordinance was indeed a permanent legal remedy. “There is no need for these apprehensions,” he announced, even as several Jallikattu bouts were cancelled after opposition from protesters. He said a bill will be passed in the legislative assembly on Monday to ensure that the event was not banned again.
The new rules and regulations listed in the ordinance include the participation of government officials and observers to ensure that the animals are not drugged or abused during the event, besides the presence of a team of veterinarians from the animal husbandry department to constantly monitor their wellbeing. It also said district collectors would document occurrences at the event, among other measures.
Despite Jallikattu receiving lacklustre response in Madurai district, several bouts were held in Pudukottai, Udumalai and Thirupur on Sunday. Two people lost their lives at the Pudukottai event.