Chennai, Jan 13 (IANS) In a brazen defiance of the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu politicians have come out in support of Jallikattu, encouraging people to join the traditional bull taming sport.
Jallikattu has been held in at least 10 places, although on a smaller scale, with the authorities mainly looking the other way, reports reaching Chennai said.
On Friday, it was held at Kalathangal near Madurai, drawing a large number of tourists, foreigners included.
Police on Friday broke up structures set up by Jallikattu organisers at one place and dispersed those gathered there.
But three MLAs present at the site warned that people would defy ban order and take part in Jallikattu.
Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has already declared that the event would be held this year.
An AIADMK leader who did not want to be named said people would be happy if Jallikattu, a part of the Pongal tradition, was organised — as it used to happen in earlier years.
At the Marina beach in Chennai, hundreds of college students formed a human chain demanding the lifting of the ban on Jallikattu.
Several organisations have plans to organise Jallikattu events during the three-day Pongal festival starting on Saturday.
The Supreme Court has ruled out giving a ruling on an appeal against the ban on Jallikattu before Pongal, effectively banning the whole sport which involves young men attempting to “tame” a running bull — briefly.
Naam Tamizhar Katchi, a fringe Tamil outfit, held a Jallikattu event on Thursday at Cuddalore and gave away prizes to the winners. About 35 people were later taken into custody.
Some Tamil Nadu parties have urged the central government to issue an ordinance to overrule the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu.
Protests against the ban have been reported from parts of Tamil Nadu.
In the last two years, the state government and police foiled Jallikattu in keeping with the apex court ban.
But now, political parties themselves have come out strongly in favour of the traditional sport.
Meanwhile, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) have urged President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to issue any ordinance to allow Jallikattu.
PETA has also asked Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and police chief Ashok Kumar to prevent any breach or violation of the law and prevent contempt of court.
“Why should we support the abuse of bulls?” PETA asked.