Centre ready to allow Jallikattu, but will wait for SC order
With Tamil Nadu asking the Centre to promulgate an ordinance to enable the smooth conduct of bull taming sport Jallikattu, the government on Wednesday said "things are ready from our side" but insisted that it would wait for the Supreme Court decision regarding the issue.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave who met a delegation led by Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha M Thambidurai regarding this issue also blamed the previous Congress-led UPA government for including bulls in the list (of animals prohibited from being exhibited or trained as performing animals).
Dave asserted that there was no ill-treatment with the bulls during the performance of the sport and expressed confidence that the Supreme Court will look into all these aspects while giving its decision so that the people can celebrate their festivals with full pleasure.
"We being the government, we are just waiting for the Supreme Court's decision. What I feel is that we should request the Supreme Court to give its judgement, then the government can take any step. The government is ready even at midnight to do all these things.
"But all depends, as we are in a structured organisation, Parliament is supreme. But the Court is also there. Therefore, it will be better that the moment the decision on the pending case comes, things are ready from our side. I am waiting for the decision desperately," Dave told reporters after meeting the delegation.
There has been a growing chorus for holding bull taming sport Jallikattu, with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the Centre to consider promulgating an ordinance to enable the conduct of the sport.
"I am sorry to say that somehow this problem arose only after 2011. The then Congress government included bulls in the list of animals that cannot be used as performing animals. We would not have included them," Dave said.
Later he tweeted, "The mother of problem is the Congress-led UPA government which included bulls in performing list in 2011."
After filmstar Kamal Hassan defended Jallikattu, saying all those who hate the bull sport should give up on biryani too, Dave had wondered why cognizance was not being taken when the sport is animal friendly and non violent.
"Now the matter is pending in the Supreme Court and we are waiting for the decision," Dave tweeted.
The Supreme Court in November last had dismissed the plea of the state government, seeking review of its 2014 judgement banning use of bulls for Jallikattu events in the state.
"I assure you that Jallikattu issue, bulls are not ill-treated ... as far as animal welfare is concerned, no one will have to teach Tamil Nadu. It has a great cultural heritage. We have learnt how to behave with cows, bulls, small and big animals because of culture. It is not because of law that we are learning all these things.
"Therefore, I am very much clear that this is a culture of the society and regional sports, cultural sports and sports involved with man and animals, they play together and enjoy everything with the restrictions. We do not think there is any ill-treatment with the bulls," Dave said. Political parties, including DMK, have been pressing the Centre and state government to take steps to hold the sport coinciding with Pongal, the Tamil harvest festival, this year.
Protests have also been held across the state by Jallikattu supporters, demanding that the sport be held this year coinciding with Pongal.
"I am sure that the Supreme Court will look at all these things and give its decision and we will be able to celebrate our festivals with full pleasure. But first we will have to wait till the Supreme Court gives its final judgement," he said.
Will ensure Jallikattu is held: Tamil Nadu CM Panneerselvam
As demands from various quarters continued to pour in for holding Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday reaffirmed the resolve of his government to conduct the bull taming sport, saying it will “not backoff” on the matter.
Panneerselvam also hit out at arch-rival DMK for its criticism of the ruling AIADMK on the matter, saying it was the UPA regime, in which DMK was a key constituent, which issued a notification including bulls under the ‘performing animals’ category, making it unable to be used in the sport.
The Chief Minister said his government walked the path laid by his predecessor, the late Jayalalithaa “who had reclaimed and upheld the rights of Tamil Nadu” on issues including the Cauvery dispute and FDI in retail trade.
“Myself and the the Tamil Nadu government, who follow in the footsteps of Amma (Jayalalithaa), will ensure that Jallikattu is held. We will not backoff even a bit. I would like to assure the people of Tamil Nadu that we will uphold the heritage and culture of the Tamils,” he said.