A 45-year-old flower vendor died while watching a jallikattu event in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukottai district on Wednesday after he came in the way of a charging bull at the finish line, The Hindu reported. Sixteen people were injured during this event.
M Jeeva Kumar was watching the traditional bull-taming sport in the Thirukokarnam town when the animal gored him to death, the report said. He was taken to the government hospital but was declared dead.
This is the fifth death since the festivities began on Sunday.
Three spectators died in similar incidents on Tuesday while a teen was gored to death in Madurai on Monday. Dozens of others were injured.
The sport is being played widely across Tamil Nadu this year, after week-long protests in Chennai in 2017 against the 2014 Supreme Court ban on the sport forced the state government to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The president approved the amendment and jallikattu events were allowed again.
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, but 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.
Currently, the Tamil Nadu government’s 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.