TRICHY: Karu Ambalatharasu, founder-president of the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Forum, on Wednesday left for New Delhi to mobilise support against the "unlawful notification" issued against the traditional sport event. Before leaving, he told TOI the forum was all set to conduct the annual event as "the essence of it was ingrained in Tamil culture, and there were some vested interests that were trying to exterminate this culture from the State once and for all." Karu said he and his supporters were scheduled to meet Jayanthi Natarajan, minister of state for environment, and also all Tamil MPs to mobilise support for jallikattu.
Meanwhile, despite the July 11 Central notification banning the "game" while a final verdict is awaited from the Supreme Court in the TN government vs Animal Welfare Board of India case, the villagers in Pudukottai, Trichy, Thanjavur areas are busy training their animals for jallikattu. The State organiser of Jallikattu, Ondiraj, who is accompanying Ambalatharasu, said the game was once played throughout the year, and then restricted to three months during the harvest festival, before finally becoming a one or two days' event.
In Trichy district alone, it is now celebrated only in four villages such as Koothaipar, Karunkulam, Navalpattu, and Rettaimalai, he said. Taking exception to Hema Malini's stand against jallikattu, Ambalatharasu said the Central government should not have buckled under pressure of one woman. While Hema accused that the bull was tortured in the name of jallikattu, Ambalatharasu said, "We love the bull as if they are our own children, and what is more, we adore them like god. Moreover, this is the traditional festival where girls identified their suitors based upon the bravery exhibited at the arena, he added.
In fact, Hema Malini, MP, had written to Union Minister of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, to stop the cruel game of jallikattu that according to her violated the spirit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Earlier, the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act No 27 of 2009 had permitted the game, and that was challenged in the apex court. However, the apex court had permitted the game while laying down strict norms for its conduct which included medical check-up for the animals, and a deposit of Rs 2 lakh for each event.