The Centre tonight cleared an ordinance on jallikattu, paving the way for the Tamil Nadu government to promulgate it in an effort to end the protests that have paralysed the state for the past four days. Following up on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam, the ministries of home, law and environment vetted the state’s draft ordinance and cleared the amendment that will remove bulls from the list of “performing animals. The Union Ministries of Home, Law and Environment has vetted the state’s draft ordinance and cleared the amendment. Now, Tamil Nadu Governor can promulgate ordinance as per Article 213 of the constitution. This will ensure that provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act will not apply to the bull. The ordinance has been forwarded to the state government, a home ministry spokesman said. It has been sent without the need of referring it to the President of India. However, the State government countered that Jallikattu was defined as an act of “taming” of bulls under the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009 and it does not amount to cruelty. This law was introduced to stop any kind of torture and taming a bull is not torture.
Jallikattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu on Mattu Pongal day as a part of Pongal celebrations i.e. harvest festival. It is one of the oldest living ancient tradition practiced in the modern era. Jallikattu has been derived from the words ‘calli’ (coins) and ‘kattu’ (tie), which means a bundle of coins is tied to the bull’s horns. In Sangam literature the sport is called as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ (means to embrace bulls). In older times Jallikattu was popular amongst warriors during the Tamil classical period. The bull tamer sought to remove this bundle from the animal’s head to win gold or silver coins to be called ‘brave’ and ‘valourous’. All castes participate in the event and majority of jallikattu bulls belong to the pulikulam breed of cattle.