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Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu: Teen dies while watching bull-taming sport in Madurai

S Kalimuthu was hit by a bull near the finishing point, reports said.

A 19-year-old man watching a Jallikattu event in Madurai’s Palamedu town died on Monday after he came in the way of a charging bull, The Times of India reported.

Reports said the man, S Kalimuthu from Dindigul, was hit near the finishing point where owners collects their bulls. The accident took place even though there was double barricade guarding the viewing area, NDTV reported.

Around 25 others were injured on Monday during the annual bull-taming sport that takes place in Tamil Nadu during the harvest festival of Pongal. On Sunday, 79 people – both players and spectators – were injured in another Madurai town.

The ban and challenge

The Supreme Court banned the sport in 2014, saying there was a constitutional obligation to show compassion to animals. It upheld this ban in 2016. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government published a notification that allowed bulls to be used in the sport. Animal rights groups challenged this, and the Supreme Court quashed the notification a few days later.

A year later, lakhs of youth from Tamil Nadu gathered at Chennai’s Marina beach to protest the ban on the sport. After more than a week of protests, the Tamil Nadu government amended the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The president approved the amendment and jallikattu events were allowed again.

Currently, this amendment has been challenged by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The Supreme Court has proposed that a constitutional bench be formed to examine if jallikattu is a cultural right.

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