MADURAI: The bull owners and rekla race enthusiasts across the state have come together and launched a state-level association titled ‘Tamil Nadu Mattuvandi Veera Vilayattu Nalasangam’ here on Wednesday.
The association is aimed at reviving the traditional south Indian sport, which was banned recently by the Supreme Court. The new body has received an overwhelming support from people of 15 districts. On day one, members of association passed resolutions and discussed the future course of action of how to revive the rekla race.
“There are associations in a few districts, which organise bullock cart race (Rekla race), but for the first time a state level association has been formed to take up the initiative to strive to remove the ban and revive rekla race,” said Mohan Samy, president of the new association.
“We thank Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for stressing the need to review the Supreme Court verdict, which will be a support to our efforts in reviving the traditional sport,” he said.
Saying that the association has been formed to look into the legal proceedings to revive the sport, R Saravanapandian, legal advisor of the association, said “Even though bulls in rekala race are different from those used for the jallikattu, we are planning to hold discussions with the bull tamers association also in this regard.”
“We are spending a huge amount to rear bulls that are specially trained for the race. The animals are provided with healthy food and medical check-up is also being conducted every month. It is the pride of locals to train bulls for which nutritious food is bought from Bangalore. Cotton seeds and seedless dates will be given to the bulls to improve their health,” he said.
With the Supreme Court ban on rekla race, country breeds such as Kangayam and other types would become extinct since they could not be used for any other work. For farm works too bulls were being replaced by tractors, they said.
“The animal activists though say that the bulls are killed in rekla race, which is untrue as we treat them like our family members. We take utmost care with hardly any profit out of it. Now, after the ban, thousands of bulls are being sent to slaughter houses,” he said.