Two individuals, including a minor, lost their lives due to goring by bulls at a Jallikattu event in Tamil Nadu’s Sivaganga district. The tragic incident occurred at Siravayal near Madurai, not during the Jallikattu event itself but after the bulls’ run when their owners gathered to collect them. During this time, the bulls scattered, resulting in the victims being fatally gored by separate animals. The ongoing Jallikattu event involved 186 bulls.
This incident highlights concerns regarding safety measures during the bull-taming sport. Supreme Court-mandated safety norms include double barricading of the entire arena and precautions to prevent animal injuries to spectators. Injuries were also reported at other Jallikattu venues, with at least 60 people injured at Palamedu in Madurai district the previous day. The event continues at Alanganallur, considered the Jallikattu capital.
Jallikattu, traditionally played during the Pongal festival in various Tamil Nadu regions, has been a subject of controversy, legal battles, and protests. Animal rights organizations advocate banning the sport due to the perceived risks of injury to both participants and bulls. However, attempts to prohibit Jallikattu have sparked widespread protests from supporters.
Originally banned in 2006 following a Madras High Court order, the Supreme Court reinforced the ban in 2014, citing animal cruelty concerns. Amid protests, the Tamil Nadu government temporarily lifted the ban in 2017 and amended laws governing the sport, triggering further legal challenges from animal rights groups. In 2023, the Supreme Court upheld the state government’s law permitting Jallikattu events, emphasizing its cultural and historical significance.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, introduced measures to minimize cruelty, ensuring proper feeding and watering of bulls and prohibiting the use of sharp objects or chemicals on them during the events.
Jallikattu involves releasing a bull into a crowd, and participants attempt to grab its hump, attempting to bring the animal to a stop. Prizes, including cars, bikes, and gold coins, are often awarded at these contests.