At least 52 persons including 20 spectators and bull owners were injured during the jallikattu held at Alanganallur near here on Saturday.

The condition of two bull fighters, who sustained injuries in neck and head, was stated to be serious.

Six of the injured were referred to the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) here. Of them, three were bull fighters. The rest of the injured were treated by a medical team present at the venue.

M.K. Alagiri, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, inaugurated the event with the traditional waving of the flag.

For the first time, around 1,500 entry tickets were sold at a cost of Rs. 300 each. The sum collected went to the government to recoup around Rs. 8 lakh spent towards constructing the gallery, erecting barricades and other security measures.

One hundred and thirteen bull fighters were declined permission to participate in the event on medical and other grounds. Of the total 494 bull fighters registered, only 383 were admitted.

While a total of 387 bulls were admitted for the jallikattu, another 22 were rejected on medical grounds. All of them were vetted by the Department of Animal Husbandry. The bull fighters too were tested for alcohol consumption and medical fitness.

Double-barricading was done all along the arena to ensure the rampaging bulls did not run into the audience gallery. Police personnel in riot gear were deployed in large numbers in between the two layers of barricading. Surveillance cameras were also installed.

Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) 108 services had stationed four ambulances and a 22-member team near the venue. They were deployed close to the arena to quickly evacuate the wounded. Immediate first-aid was administered on the spot before referring serious cases to the GRH.

Only the bull fighters with the authorised uniform were allowed in the ring. Those violating the rules and some bull fighters who were involved in scuffles were evicted by the police.

P. Moorthy, Sholavandan MLA, one of the event organisers, gave away prizes to successful bull fighters and bull owners. A number of international news agencies covered the event.

Event monitored

Representatives from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals observed the proceedings. Around 500 gold coins, household items such as fans, cots and bicycles were among the prizes distributed. N. Mathivanan, District Collector, A. Tamil Arasi, Minister for Adi Dravidar Welfare, S. Krishnamurthy, Inspector-General of Police (south zone) and M. Manohar, Superintendent of Police also witnessed the event.