At least 30 people protesting against the ban on jallikattu were baton-charged and detained on Saturday in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district, ANI reported. The agitators were allegedly trying to organise the banned bull-taming sport on the first day of Pongal. Several security personnel have been deployed since Friday at various places, including Avaniapuram in Madurai, where Saturday’s police action took place, reported The Times of India.
Tamil actor Rajinikanth on Friday extended his support to the banned sport. He said the festival should be held as it is part of the Tamil culture. “Bring in whatever rules but jallikattu must be held to keep up the traditions of our Tamil culture,” he said, according to IANS.
On Thursday, the apex court had rejected a plea seeking an early verdict in the case, triggering protests across Tamil Nadu. A group of protesting students were baton-charged on Thursday. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders, including MK Stalin and Kanimozhi, on Friday led protests outside the collector’s office in Chennai.
On Wednesday, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Sasikala Natarajan and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pass an ordinance to allow the sport 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 this year,” read the letter.
Jallikattu is traditionally organised as part of the four-day harvest festival of Pongal, which starts on Saturday this year. The Supreme Court has been hearing petitions on the sporting event since it was banned in 2014. On January 10, Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave had said the Centre would take a stand on the controversy surrounding the sport after the Supreme Court pronounces its final verdict.