The Centre will take a stand on the controversy surrounding bull-taming festival jallikattu after the Supreme Court pronounces its final verdict on its practice, Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said on Tuesday. He added that he hoped the apex court would “take care” of the sentiments behind jallikattu and perceive the practice as a societal tradition that involves no violence, PTI reported.
His statements come a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an ordinance to allow jallikattu during the festival of Pongal this year. “Given the urgency of the issue, the government of India should consider promulgating an ordinance to remove the legal impediments and enable the conduct of jallikattu during Pongal, 2017,” he said.
Dave said that the government will decide whether an ordinance was necessary only after the Supreme Court’s final verdict on the matter. “The moment the court will [pronounce its ruling], the government will make its decision,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, C Ponnaiyan, said that there were provisions within the law to organise jallikattu. “We believe it will be done,” he added.
Jallikattu is traditionally organised as part of the five-day Pongal celebrations, which begins on January 14 this year. The Supreme Court has been hearing petitions on the practice since it was banned in 2014. On July 26, 2016, it had said that jallikattu may be 5,000 years old, but it was for the judiciary to decide whether the practice could continue. “We have to show compassion to the animals. It is our constitutional obligation,” the bench had said. Tamil Nadu, however, had argued for the sport to be allowed because it was a centuries-old tradition in the region.