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After 3-yr ban, jallikattu set for grand return

After a three-year long ban, jallikattu will finally be held across Tamil Nadu on Sunday. Governor Vidyasagar Rao has approved an executive order or Ordinance by the state government which will allow the bull-taming sport to be held in the state, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said on Saturday evening. The Chief Minister is now headed to Alanganallur in Madurai to inaugurate jallikattu celebrations on Sunday, which were banned by the Supreme Court in 2014. Thousands of people, who have been protesting at Chennai's Marina beach since Tuesday evening, had said they will not disperse till the ban is officially lifted.

Panneerselvam thanked the Centre for its support. "On behalf of government and people of TN, thank you for your support in enabling Jallikattu to be held in Tamil Nadu once again," he said, adding that since the Ordinance will last for six months, the government will formulate a new law to that the sport can take place without hindrance.

Recalling his interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 19 on the issue, Panneerselvam said the Tamil Nadu government had issued an Ordinance, enabling the conduct of the bull-taming sport, after obtaining the prior instructions of the President as envisaged under Article 213 of the Constitution. "The Ordinance was promulgated today by the government of Tamil Nadu and jallikattu is to be conducted with customary fervour all over the state with all the necessary safeguards," he said.

Meanwhile, despite the Ordinance and preparations in Madurai, protesters insist for amendments in PCA Act as the final solution. They said no bulls will be taken to arena on Sunday unless there is a temporary solution, which is an amendment in PCA Act. In the meantime, state ministers on Sunday will inaugurate the sport in their respective districts at 11 am. The Bill to replace Saturday's Ordinance on jallikattu will be tabled in the state Assembly on January 23 when the first Assembly session begins. Alanganallur is famous for conducting jallikattu events.

District Collector K Veera Raghava Rao said everything is ready and they are waiting for the green signal from the government. Officials said with the Collector inspecting the venue, the sport is likely to be held in a day or two. The Centre had on Friday night cleared an Ordinance on jallikattu, paving the way for the Tamil Nadu government to promulgate it in an effort to end the protests that have paralysed the state for the last five days. Jallikattu is a traditional event held in Tamil Nadu as part of Pongal celebrations. However, the Apex Court banned it in 2014, taking into consideration the safety of people and animals involved in the sport.

Earlier in the day, Modi said all efforts are being made to fulfill the cultural aspirations of the people of Tamil Nadu. "We are very proud of the rich culture of Tamil Nadu. All efforts are being made to fulfill the cultural aspirations of Tamil people," he tweeted.

Modi said the Central government is fully committed to the progress of Tamil Nadu and will always work to ensure the state scales new avenues of progress. Several people across the state welcomed the decision, saying jallikattu was part of Tamil culture and steps should be taken immediately to make it a permanent feature.
Chennai/New Delhi:
Jallikattu supporters during the day staged rail blockade at Madurai even as train services continued to remain affected due to the ongoing stir. The Southern Railway announced cancellation of some trains besides diversion of others.
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