The government’s top law officer has advised the environment ministry against lifting the ban on Jallikattu, the bull-taming sport of Tamil Nadu, even as environment minister Prakash Javadekar had this week said such “cultural practices” would be allowed to continue.
Jallikattu is held during the Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. The Centre had earlier indicated it may allow the sport in Tamil Nadu for a limited period in mid-January despite opposition from animal rights activists.
Sources said attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, whose opinion the government had sought, has said allowing such sports would be a violation of the Supreme Court’s May 2014 judgement that said “bulls cannot be allowed as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock cart races in the state of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.” “The AG has given his opinion against lifting the ban,” a government source said.
His opinion comes when pressure is building up within the BJP against a lifting of the ban.
Former Gujarat MP Vallabhbhai Kathiria, who is also chairman of Gujarat Gauseva Ayog, said: “I have written to the environment minister that allowing such sports is a violation of animal rights. They are subjected to immense torture...”
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has asked the ministry to not overturn the SC judgement. The court had last May upheld the AWBI’s stand that Jallikattu violates the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.