Staff Reporter

"Rural sporting events indirectly support religious harmony"

  • It is both a sport and religious activity: Special Government Pleader
  • Injuries are part of any game and it cannot be a reason for banning them"

    MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday reserved orders on a batch of petitions both for and against conducting `jallikattu' (bull taming), `rekela' (bullock cart) race, oxen race and similar events.

    A Division Bench comprising Justice Dharma Rao Elipe and Justice P.P.S. Janarthana Raja deferred their verdict, without mentioning a date, after hearing arguments advanced by counsel for the petitioners, the State and the Animal Welfare Board of India.

    Special Government Pleader R. Janakiramulu said `jallikattu' was both a sport and religious activity. Injuries were part of any game and it could not be a reason for banning them.

    "Even a popular cricketer of yesteryears went into coma after being injured by a speeding ball. Does that mean we should ban cricket?"

    On allegations of torture of bulls, he drew an analogy with parents beating their children if they refused to go to school and said, "Similarly, here also some mild force is used against the bulls. That cannot be taken into account." Many villagers were conducting `jallikattu' from time immemorial and "it cannot be separated from them."

    The SGP also said the rural sporting events indirectly supported religious harmony, which was very important for the State.

    There was nothing wrong in conducting the sport in a regulated manner. The Government was ready to abide by any condition imposed by the court.

    Counsel for Animal Welfare Board of India said `jallikattu' was a game between animals with five senses and human beings with six senses. The sport involved shedding of blood sport unlike cricket, football or tennis.

    Every year, many people are killed or injured. "We can understand at least if an individual is pitted against one bull. But in `jallikattu,' so many youngsters try to overpower a lone bull. It is nothing but torture."

    The petitions were filed before the Division Bench pursuant to orders passed by a single judge of the High Court last year, directing the State Government to prevent cruelty to bulls in the guise of `jallikattu,' `rekela race' and so on.