Journalists avert mishap by vacating an unstable gallery

About 50 persons, including 30 bull tamers and eight spectators, suffered injuries in the jallikattu held at Alanganallur near here on Thursday.

A policeman who tamed 11 bulls took home a new motorcycle.

Anxious moments

The world-famous Alanganallur event witnessed quite a few anxious moments, apart from those on the sporting floor, when a three-deck gallery erected with wooden planks, opposite the vadivasal (a narrow passage through which bulls are let loose into the track) was about to collapse around 10 a.m.

Sensing danger, a group of journalists averted the mishap by vacating the topmost deck.

Earlier, a fence put up below the VIP gallery gave way when the tamers clung on to it to escape the charging bulls.

A few terrified bulls too butted the fencing leading to unease among those occupying the gallery.

It was set right after Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan intervened and asked the organisers to stop the event for a while. Monitoring the event from a tower erected near the vadivasal, the SP instructed his subordinates to evacuate tamers who did not adhere to rules.

At one point, he spotted a tamer, asked the policemen to check if he was drunk and ordered his removal.

The tamers who suffered injuries were shifted out of the arena immediately. While some were rendered first aid at medical camps close to the venue, others were referred to the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) here.

“Seven bull tamers are being treated in the general surgery ward and one spectator in the orthopaedic ward. All of them are stable and there is nothing to worry about their health condition,” said B. Santhakumar, Dean, GRH.

Though the event began at 7.35 am itself, it went on till 2.10 p.m as against the stipulated time of six hours starting from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. The organisers could not accommodate all the eligible bulls numbering over 500.

22 bulls retreat

As many as 22 bulls had to return without setting foot on the track.

However, the organisers cheered the bull owners by giving away several gifts. J. Sundarrajan, president of the organising committee, said that Vinoth Kumar, an Armed Reserve policeman, was declared ‘man of the match’ for taming 11 bulls and was presented with a new motorcycle.

“There was a motorcycle waiting to be gifted to the ‘bull of the match’ but none of the bulls qualified as they did not provide enough entertainment to the gathering,” he said.