Madurai celebrates Jallikattu

Madurai : The controversial bull-taming sport, Jallikattu was held in Tamil Nadu on Sunday, after a gap of three years in view of the ban.

The excitement was palpable in Madurai’s Avaniapuram where the sport was being organised. As per tradition, a bull was released into the crowd of contestants enclosed within a fence, and each tried to grab the hump of the bull and tried to ride it as long as possible.

The sport is considered a form of animal cruelty apart from being hazardous to human life by animal rights activists, which led to its ban in 2015.

The ban resulted in protests across the state, following which the Tamil Nadu state assembly unanimously passed an amendment bill on January 23, 2017, clearing the path for the conduct of the sport.

Ahead of the festival this year, the Animals Welfare Board of India (AWBI) constituted a six-member committee to monitor Jallikattu and asked the state government to conduct the same with 20 guidelines.

The guidelines require for the animals to be subjected to nicotine and cocaine tests before they are declared fit to participate in the event, and also call for a “compulsory” one-day insurance for the event.

Calves below the age of three and above 15 years are not allowed to be used for the event.

Jallikattu is usually held during the harvest festival of Pongal in mid-January. (ANI)