Jallikattu ban: BJP backs people of Tamil Nadu, blames UPA for depriving state of traditional sport

Jallikattu was first banned in 2006 when the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court hearing a writ petition filed by advocate L Shaji Chellan, who had moved court seeking permission to conduct a rekla (bullock cart) race at Thaniankootam in Ramanathapuram district, unilaterally expanded the scope of the judgment and banned rekla, oxen races and jallikattu, citing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA). Justice R Banumathi, a Tamilian and presently a judge in the Supreme Court, had heard the case.

 Jallikattu ban: BJP backs people of Tamil Nadu, blames UPA for depriving state of traditional sport

Jallikattu. File photo

In July 2009, the government of Tamil Nadu passed the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act (TNRJA). The Act set some conditions for holding Jallikattu, like seeking written permission of the district collector, between January and May of any year and with the condition that it must have taken place for at least five years.

On 27 November 2010, the Supreme Court permitted jallikattu under the provisions of TNRJA, for a period of five months starting 15 January of any year. The court further stated that all participating animals were to be registered with the Animal Welfare Board, who would also send representatives to monitor the events.

But on 11 July 2011, the Ministry of Environment and Forests under Jairam Ramesh of the Congress banned the use of bulls as performing animals. The scope of this ban extended to jallikattu and other animal races across the country effectively putting a ban on the traditional sport of Tamil Nadu.

What were DMK and Congress (at the centre), AIADMK (in the state) and other protesting Tamil organizations doing when in 2011 Jairam Ramesh made sure that jallikattu was banned?

Subsequently, on 7 May 2014 (when UPA was still in power), the Supreme Court struck down the TNRJA, banning the sport altogether. It further asked the government of India to amend the PCAA to bring bulls within its jurisdiction. The court justified the ruling by saying cruelty was ‘inherent’ in these sports; the bulls were not ‘anatomically suited’ for such events, and their participation would cause pain and suffering.

All this happened while Congress-led UPA, of which DMK was a part, was in power at the centre.

It was only in January 2016 (when Narendra Modi took over as prime minister) that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change amended its 2011 notification, allowing jallikattu and bullock cart races across Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat with specific conditions. The collector’s permission was required and proper racing tracks provided, and bulls had to be tamed in jallikattu within a radial distance of 15m.

But in July 2016, the Supreme Court, based on a petition filed by Animal Welfare Board and PETA, overturned the Modi government’s decision and once again banned jallikattu. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi is one of the counsels for Animal Welfare Board, which is in the forefront of banning jallikattu.

Not just that, the Congress party in its manifesto for Tamil Nadu elections in 2016, promised to ban jallikattu if voted to power!

As you can see BJP alone has stood by the people of Tamil Nadu and defended their right to celebrate jallikattu. Anything to the contrary is personal opinion of the individual concerned. The matter is sub-judice and we should wait for the review petition, with correct facts, to be heard in the Supreme Court.

The author is the BJP IT cell national in-charge.

Updated Date: Jan 19, 2017 21:09:45 IST