The bull tamers and ‘jallikattu' lovers of neighbouring districts and surrounding villages of Koolamedu in Attur taluk are a disappointed lot today. The traditional bull taming sport festival, scheduled on Thursday at the village, has been postponed with Salem District administration denying permission to it at the last minute.
Koolamedu is the only venue in Salem district where this ancient Tamil sport is officially permitted as per Supreme Court guidelines. It hosted the event last year too. The other place, Thammampatti, which used to host it during the Pongal festival, has been dropped from the approved list of venues.
The organisers told The Hindu that they were quite shocked at the denial of permission to the event, which has been held for many years without any serious incident. They further said the sport had been postponed for the third time this year thus putting them in a fix.
“It was scheduled to be held on March 18. Later it got postponed to March 22. Now we are struggling to get permission for a fresh date for the event,” said Mr. Kandasamy, village president and one of the organising committee members.
The organisers pointed out that as per instructions from Supreme Court and endorsed by the District administration, they had made necessary arrangements to ensure the ‘safe conduct of the event' in their village.
As instructed by District administration, they had paid a deposit amount of Rs.2 lakhs. “But now the administration has hiked the deposit to Rs 5 lakhs,” they claimed.
When they approached the higher officials, they were told to seek judicial approval from High Court to hold the event quoting a recent judgment of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court in this regard.
“Unfortunately due to a series of lawyers' boycotts, we were not able to get its nod. Besides, we were also told that our petition to the court should accompany with the copy of a written approval from Collector. Now we are shunting between court and collector's office to get the permission,” they said.
When contacted senior revenue officials said that they were not satisfied with the arrangements at the village.
A team of revenue and police officials led by Collector K. Maharabushanam recently inspected the site where the event was to be held.
They discussed various issues with the members of the organising committee.
“We have told them to adhere to certain conditions, which are essential for conducting such event for which they accepted. But since they could not fulfil these demands, we have decided to postpone the event,” an official said.
The villagers however claimed that they had carried out all their instructions and conditions.