The Centre is set to allow popular bull-taming sport Jallikattu and a few other bullock-cart races in 2016, with environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday saying that the government would let such cultural practices continue while ensuring that animals were not subjected to cruelty.
“Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, bullock-cart races in Maharashtra, Kambala in Karnataka and some sort of race using bullocks in Punjab have been traditionally and culturally practiced for centuries. We want to respect that but also ensure that there should be no cruelty. Therefore, we will give you good news in the next couple of days. The government is positive on the issue,” Javadekar told reporters.
These events involving animals will be permitted to continue “for some time,” he said, responding to a question about these sports.
Sources, however, said the government was likely to issue an executive order in this regard on January 1, adding that the environment ministry had consulted Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on the issue.
Jallikattu, also known as Eruthazhuvuthal, is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of the Pongal celebrations.
The Supreme Court had banned using bulls for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races across the country and directed governments and the Animal Welfare Board of India to take steps to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals.
In view of the SC ban, bullock-cart races were not part of the 2015 edition of the Kila Raipur games, better known as the ‘Rural Olympics’, held in Ludhiana district in January-February.
The ban on Jallikattu has dampened Pongal festivities in the state, especially in southern districts where it has been a popular event for centuries, and there have been demands for facilitating its conduct.
Javadekar had earlier hinted that the Centre would consider taking steps, including amending laws to allow the sport.