Tamil Nadu allows Jallikattu despite COVID-19 surge: Only 300 tamers allowed, negative RT-PCR mandatory

Tamil Nadu, which has witnessed a steep rise in coronavirus cases over the past few days, on Sunday reported 12,895 new cases while its active infections touched 51,335.

FP Staff January 10, 2022 17:44:25 IST
Tamil Nadu allows Jallikattu despite COVID-19 surge: Only 300 tamers allowed, negative RT-PCR mandatory

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday permitted the conduct of Jallikattu, a popular traditional bull-taming sport in the state, this year during the Pongal festival despite the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Tamil Nadu, which has witnessed a steep rise in coronavirus cases over the past few days, on Sunday reported 12,895 new cases while its active infections touched 51,335.

As per the guidelines released by the government, only 300 tamers would be allowed to participate in the Jallikattu, Manjuvirattu and Vadamadu and 150 players have been permitted to participate in the bull racing sport, Eruthu Viduthal.

The government made it mandatory for both the bull owners and their assistants who register their animals for the sport as well as the tamers to produce a fully vaccinated certificate and a RT-PCR test negative report at least 48 hours before the event. They would be provided identity cards to participate in the event, a government order passed on Monday said.

"Only the bull owner and its trainer would be allowed during the registration. Those with valid identity cards provided by the district administration, alone, will be allowed inside the arena," the order stated.

According to new guidelines, no more than 150 spectators will be allowed in the arena and the government has capped the occupancy at 50 percent (like it did last year).

"Spectators should also produce fully vaccinated against COVID-19 certificate and RT-PCR negative report, two days before the event," the government order said,  and added that strict social distancing norms will be enforced.

Jallikattu is performed on the third day of the four-day-long harvest festival Pongal, which starts 14 January and ends on 17 January.

Guidelines for Jallikattu

  • Only two people, the bull owner and an assistant, allowed inside the arena with each bull.
  •  Two people will get ID cards from district administrations
  • No entry without cards
  • Full vaccination and a negative RT-PCR test not older than 48 hours required to enter the ring
  • Players will be provided with ID cards by respective district administrations.
  • Districts should complete issuing ID cards to owners and players three days before the event

It further directed the organisers and the participants to refrain from harming the bulls that take part in Jallikattu.

Madras High Court also ordered the state government to check that the bulls participating in Jallikattu are of native breed and not foreign or hybrid bulls.

Earlier, the district administrations in Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet and Tirupattur, had banned the Jallikattu event. According to a report in The Hindu, a large group of enthusiasts gheraoed the Vellore Collectorate, seeking permission to organise the event during the Pongal festival.

“During the pandemic, such large public events are automatically banned to prevent the spread of the infection. Special health and police teams were formed to check any violations on COVID-19 norms,” said Ranipet Collector D. Bhaskara Pandian, reported The Hindu.

With inputs from PTI

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