CHENNAI/NEW DELHI: Will Tamil Nadu witness jallikattu, the bull-taming sport banned by the Supreme Court this year? Since the highly popular event is associated with Pongal, which is just a few days away, the State government is pulling out all stops to get the ban lifted.
Giving a sense of how the government intends to go about it, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Saturday said: “Top officials of the State government will meet officials of the Central government on January 12 in New Delhi and urge them to exclude ‘bulls’ from the list of exhibiting performing animals under Section 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, as per the notification dated July 11, 2011, issued by the Animal Welfare Division of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).”
State government officials have already taken up the matter with the Centre. In fact, three days ago, they met MoEF officials and requested them to delete the term ‘bulls’ from the notification. If the Centre agrees to issue a notification deleting the term ‘bulls’ from the list of performing animals, immediately the Tamil Nadu government would issue a notification without contradicting the Supreme Court’s order, to facilitate conducting of jallikattu, the CM said.
In Delhi, MoEF officials said they were working to put in place a legal framework to allow traditional sports and festivals like jallikattu, while ensuring that no cruelty is meted out to animals. The ministry has already received representations from many states asking to lift the ban on such traditional festivals and sports. The TSR Subramanian Committee, constituted by the government to revise green laws, also supported allowing traditional faiths and practices. “We are seriously working at it and something positive is expected soon,” said a senior ministry official.