Madurai: The world famous Alanganallur jallikattu will be held on January 16 this year, two days after Pongal. It was organised traditionally on this date until the event was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014. Last year it was the protest from youth from all over Tamil Nadu at Alanganallur which triggered the Marina beach uprising in January, resulting in state government passing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017 on January 24 to facilitate the conduct of jallikattu.
At that time, the protesters had refused to allow the then Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam to inaugurate the jallikattu at Alanganallur. Finally the event was held only on February 10.
Today, district collector Veera Raghva Rao announced that jallikattu would be organised as per tradition on January 16 following Palamedu on January 15 and Avaniyapuram on January 14.
He made this announcement after he held discussions with the jallikattu organising committee of the three villages at the collectorate in the morning. “I have strictly instructed the organising committees to adhere to rules while conducting the event and no harm should be caused to the bulls,” the collector told the reporters.
A jallikattu monitoring committee will be constituted comprising senior level officials to closely monitor the event and the district revenue officer will oversee it, said Rao adding that the regional joint director of animal husbandry department will oversee the issue of tokens for bulls. Only a three-year-old bull, four feet tall (with three teeth) is eligible for the sport, and bull owners should first get the fitness certificate for their bulls from the local veterinary hospital, he said.
The token will be issued three days prior to the event at the venue by the official team to bull owners and the jallikattu organising committee can coordinate with officials in this process, said Rao. Tamers in the age group of 20 and 45 years are allowed to participate, but officials will check their fitness prior to the event, he said.
As of now, the jallikattu organising committee reports that around 600 bulls from each village will take part in the event and the collector has tentatively fixed the timing between 8 am and 3 pm.
Tamers will be allowed in batches and in a batch, only 75 are allowed to enter the arena, said the collector. All arrangements will be made for the safety of bulls at the collection and end points of the arena. A medical mobile team and ambulance will be in place at the venue.
Earlier during the meeting, members of the jallikattu organising committee requested the collector to extended the time schedule of the event up to 5 pm.
Rao assured to look into their requests. Madurai superintendent of police N. Manivannan, city corporation commissioner Dr Aneesh Sekhar and other senior officials participated in the meeting.