The Telugu film industry took to social media on Friday and came out in support of protesters in neighbouring Tamil Nadu who are demanding an end to the ban on the traditional bull-taming sport of Jallikattu.
Describing the ban as an attack on Dravidian culture, Tollywood hero-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan said the 2014 Supreme Court order had deeply hurt the sentiments of the people of entire south India.
“If ban on Jallikattu was imposed only on the pretext of cruelty towards animals, how can the government justify the killing of thousands of cows, calves and buffaloes to produce and export 2.4 million tonnes of beef every year?” tweeted Pawan Kalyan, who also heads a regional party Jana Sena.
He even drew a link between Jallikattu and cockfights, a popular sport in rural Andhra Pradesh that has been banned. “In fact, cockfights have deep religious significance associated with Lord Kukkuteshwara (a form of Shiva) and they are the cultural identity of Andhra,” he said.
If the Centre was serious about preventing cruelty towards animals, then it should ban poultry industry as well, he said.
Pawan, who is the younger brother of Congress MP and former union minister Chiranjeevi, demanded that the Centre lift the ban on Jallikattu and cockfights.
Another popular actor, Mahesh Babu, said Jallikattu reflected the spirit of Tamil Nadu -- bold and fearless. “Proud to see such a statement of unity among Tamilians for something that they truly believe in. Especially admire the way the students of Tamil Nadu have been standing up for the cause, relentlessly fighting for their roots and culture,” he tweeted.
Proud to see such a statement of unity among Tamilians for something that they truly believe in.— Mahesh Babu (@urstrulyMahesh) January 19, 2017
Especially admire the way the students of Tamil Nadu have been standing up for the cause, relentlessly fighting for their roots and culture.— Mahesh Babu (@urstrulyMahesh) January 19, 2017
Similar sentiments were expressed by Daggubati Rana of Baahubali fame.
“Protests in the right direction!! Such amazing spirit!’ #JusticeforJallikattu,” said Ram. The young actor said he was brought up in Chennai, a city that never ceased “to amaze me”.
Most of these actors are doing bilingual films, in Telugu as well as Tamil, which explains their support for Jallikattu.
Sundeep Kishan also paid tributes to his city of birth and protesters. “Proud to have been born in a city which stands testimony to the unity and spirit of its people,” he tweeted, a reference to the protesters camping on Chennai’s famous Marina beach for four days now.
Tamil superstar Rajnikanth joined the protesters in Chennai on Friday. Dressed in black, he took part in a silent demonstration. Celebrities like Kamal Haasan, AR Rahman and Viswanathan Anand, too, have spoke in support of Jallikattu.
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