Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Paneerselvam on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promulgate an ordinance immediately to enable the conduct of jallikattu (bull taming) during the Pongal festival.
With just days left for Pongal and with no legal relief coming from the Supreme Court for conducting jallikattu, Tamil Nadu CM requested Modi in a letter to remove the legal hurdles that block conducting of jallikattu.
“Given that the Pongal festival which holds great importance to the people of Tamil Nadu is less than a week away and jallikattu is an integral part of the Pongal festivities, the Government of India should consider promulgating an ordinance removing the legal impediments enabling the conduct of jallikattu during Pongal,” he said.
Considering the groundswell of sentiment and support for the conduct of jallikattu all over Tamil Nadu, this is an issue on which the Centre should act, the chief minister added.
He recalled that both he and his predecessor the late J Jayalalithaa, had put forth a demand to Modi that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests “should clearly denotify” bulls as performing animals from a 2011 notification by the Ministry.
“As you are aware, jallikattu is conducted as part of the Pongal festival in which bulls that are reared exclusively for this event are embraced by able-bodied youth. Jallikattu is deeply ingrained as part of the cultural tradition of Tamil Nadu, as a sport popular among warriors since the Sangam era. This 2000-year-old traditional sport finds a mention in the ancient Tamil text Silapathigaram,” he said.
The Supreme Court banned jallikattu and also held that bulls could not be used as performing animals either for jallikattu events or for bullock cart races in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and other states in the country.