The Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking to allow the bull-taming sport Jallikattu played during Pongal festival which falls on January 14 this year in Tamil Nadu.
Reportedly, from 2010 to 2014, there were approximately 1,100 injuries and 17 deaths because of Jallikattu events. Over 200 people have died from the sport over the past two decades.
In May 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned the practice, citing animal welfare issues. On 8 January, 2016, the Government of India passed an order exempting Jallikattu from all performances where bulls can not be used, effectively reversing the ban. However, on 14 January, 2016, the Supreme Court of India upheld its ban on the event, leading to protests all over Tamil Nadu.
The bull-taming sport also known as ‘Manju Virattu’ is organised in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day.
Bulls are specially bred by people of the village for the event and attended mainly by many villages’ temple bulls (kovil kaalai)
The word ‘Jallikattu’ is derived from the Tamil words Jalli and Kattu, which mean silver or gold coins tied to tthe horns of the bulls as the prize money.
There are three variants of Jallikattu – Vati Manju Virattu, Veli Virattu and Vatam Manjuvirattu.
In Vati Manju Virattu, the bull which is being released from an enclosure is held for some distance and time. The person who manages to hold the animal within the time span in the distance wins.
In Veli Virattu, the bull is released on an open ground while people try to gain control over the animal.
And in Vatam Manjuvirattu, the bull is tied to long rope while a team of players try to control the animal.