Rallies and protests against the ban on bull-taming sport jallikattu are continuing in Tamil Nadu, with 200 people now protesting in Avaniapuram, near Madurai. The protests intensified on Friday with many in the state celebrating Pongal, of which jallikattu has traditionally been a part. The Supreme Court earlier in the week struck down a notification by the Centre that lifted the ban on the sport, and declined a petition appealing its decision.

The Supreme Court was responding to several pleas filed by animal rights groups, including the Animal Welfare Board of India and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, that challenged the Centre’s move to allow jallikattu. This year protestors are calling the festival ‘Black Pongal’.

The People’s Welfare Front, fronted by Tamil Nadu politician Vaiko, will hold a hunger strike on January 17 to protest against the ban. Protests are on across Chennai, Madurai and Tiruchirapalli. Political parties across the state have also condemned the Apex court’s decision. Tamil Nadu Congress Committee head EVKS Elangovan and Pattali Makkal Katchi chief Ramadoss are among those against the decision.