Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has urged to resume the sports Jallikattu on Pongal this year. Jallikattu, also known as bull fight, was banned by the Supreme Court of India in May 2014 citing it an animal welfare issue.
He wrote in the letter,”The Pongal festival holds great importance to the people of Tamil Nadu and is less than a week away. Since Jallikattu sport is an integral part of the Pongal festivities, Government of India should consider passing an ordinance removing the legal ban and enabling the conduct of Jallikattu during Pongal, 2017″.
He also added that even Jayalalithaa had also put a demand to Modi that the Union and Ministry of Environment and forests “should clearly denotify bulls as performing animals from a 2011 notification by the Ministry. The other demand was to “suitably amend Section 11(3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 by introducing a new clause ‘f’ in sub-section (3) of Section 11 specifically exempting Jallikattu in addition to other exemptions already provided in the Act.”
Earlier this day, veteran actor Kamal Haasan, while speaking at a media event, spoke in favour of the bull-fighting and said,” I’m a big fan of Jallikattu. If you want to ban Jallikaatu, then also impose a ban on Biryani then”.
The BJP’s state unit criticised former environment Minister Jairam Ramesh for altering the Animal Welfare Act, 2011 and bring bulls under the “exhibiting animals” list. BJP leader H Raja said,”There was no issue surrounding Jallikattu, in 2011. It all happened after UPA government including DMK, that they amended an act and brought the bulls into the list of exhibiting animals and they have termed Jallikatu as cruelty to animals.”
Other political parties like DMK have been pressurising the Central and state Governments collectively, to take steps to hold the sports coinciding with Pongal this year. There were certain protests held by the Jallikattu supporters demanding the sport should happen in this year on the Pongal day.