Jallikattu: Animal Welfare Board to challenge Tamil Nadu's new law in Supreme Court

The Animal Welfare Board of India and other animal rights bodies have moved the Supreme Court challenging the Tamil Nadu government's bill that allows conduct of jallikattu in the state, a report in NDTV said. The SC has decided to hear their petitions on 30 January.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said that in all likelihood a bench comprising him and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman would hear the plea on Monday on the bull-taming sport that is held in the state during Pongal.

Misra also referred to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's mentioning on 24 January, 2017, about an intent of the Government of India to withdraw a January 7, 2016 notification permitting the ancient sport.

Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of the animal rights groups, told the court that they have filed an application pointing out that the state law permitting jallikattu was repugnant to the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Animal rights activists say that jallikattu is cruel and have urged the government to keep the ban in place, whereas pro-jallikattu supporters have been demanding to conduct the sport as it is an important part of the Tamil culture.

Many in Tamil Nadu say the sport forms an important part of the Pongal harvest festival, which some Hindus celebrate after the winter solstice. However, according to animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, more than 1,200 spectators have been injured at such events between 2010 and 2014.

On Monday, after a morning of violent protests across Tamil Nadu, the state assembly passed a bill that legalised the bull taming sport.

The bill, which was tabled by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, was passed within minutes of its introduction. The bill replaced an ordinance that was promulgated on 21 January amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Earlier on Monday, Chennai police started evicting scores of pro-jallikattu demonstrators from protest venues across the state, especially from the Marina Beach, which was the epicentre of the stir for the past week.

At the Marina Beach, the police action began early in the morning with roads to the beach being cordoned off and police personnel being deployed in large numbers. Some protesters lined up at the seashore forming a human chain and a group entered the water refusing to heed police requests to disperse.

Some staged a sit-in on the sands while others regrouped in nearby areas, shouting slogans and allegedly throwing stones on the policemen. Police burst teargas shells and reportedly lathicharged to chase away a section of protesters who had regrouped at Triplicane near Marina Beach and allegedly started throwing stones at police personnel.

There were also reports of vehicles being torched by angry protesters, however, some videos have emerged showing the police burning vehicles.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Jan 25, 2017 12:09:28 IST