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Introduce Bill to amend laws for conducting ‘jallikattu’: Jaya

Amid growing chorus for holding the banned bull-taming sport ‘jallikattu’ in January, Tamil Nadu government has urged the Centre to introduce a bill to amend laws for its conduct.

It also suggested a special Parliament session for the purpose or even promulgating an ordinance considering the “urgency” of the matter.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Pongal (Tamil harvest festival) was fast approaching (next month) and “it is very important that the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu, who have a deep attachment to the conduct of the traditional event of jallikattu, are honoured.”

In a December 22 letter to Modi, she said media reports had “indicated” that Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar had stated the Centre would introduce a Bill in Parliament in the Winter Session to enable its conduct.

She said “we were eagerly looking forward to introduction of the bill,” but Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan was quoted in media that the deadlock in Rajya Sabha was the reason for non introduction of the legislation.

Strongly urging the PM to immediately direct the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to introduce a Bill to comprehensively and suitably amend relevant provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, she said it had to be passed immediately to enable conduct of Jallikattu.

“May I request that the Parliament session be extended, or a special session called for this purpose? Alternatively, considering the urgency of the issue, the Government of India may consider promulgating an ordinance enabling the conduct of jallikattu during Pongal 2016. On behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu, I urge you to have the ordinance promulgated expeditiously,” she said in the letter, released on Wednesday.

The CM said inability to conduct Jallikattu has caused general disappointment and widespread resentment among the people, particularly in rural areas, as this was a sport which was part of their cherished tradition.

Jayalalithaa said jallikattu was a traditional sporting event held as part of Pongal festivities in rural Tamil Nadu for many centuries, adding that bulls reared exclusively for this event were tamed by able-bodied youth.

Jallikattu had considerable historical significance and was ingrained in the cultural tradition of Tamil Nadu and even found mention in the ‘great epic Silappathigaram’, and was popular among warriors since the Sangam era, she said.

“The sport is inextricably linked to rural, agrarian customs and practices and helps with the conservation of native germplasm since bulls with excellent physical attributes are reared. It also has religious connotations with families donating bulls to temples in fulfillment of vows.”
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