Supreme Court urged to ban Tamil Nadu’s post-Pongal bullfight

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court, which had last year temporarily allowed Tamil Nadu’s post-Pongal traditional sport Jallikattu involving bullfights, Wednesday faced a renewed plea by an animal rights panel to ban the sport for good to avoid cruelty to animals.

The Animal Welfare Board of India told the apex court that despite its order last January to hold the traditional sport under various precautionary and safety measures, the annual event had resulted in widespread injuries to both humans and animals.

The sport involves first taming of the bulls, then feeding liquor to them and finally throwing chilly powder into their eyes to make them furious and excited.

The event, besides leading injuries to both humans and animals, often turns fatal for both.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had Jan 15 last year temporarily allowed the holding of the event, bowing to the immense pressure of the central and state governments. It had also said it would later take a final decision on the desirability of continuing with the age-old tradition.

The various security and safety measures prescribed by the court for holding the bullfight included erection of a double barricade around the enclosure to separate the participants from the spectators and the provision for distinct outfits for the participants.

The court had also directed the presence of Animal Welfare Board officials and other responsible government officers at the site of the event to ensure that no injury or cruelty was inflicted upon the animals.

The Animal Welfare Board of India, in its application filed in the apex court Wednesday, said that despite all the court directions, the event last year had led to serious injuries to hundreds of people and animals all over Tamil Nadu.

The board had sought the immediate banning of the event. The apex court is likely hear the petition Friday.


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