Today's Paper

50 injured in `jallikattu'

S. Vijay Kumar

Thousands witness the event at Palamedu

MADURAI: Thousands of thrilled audience witnessed `jallikattu', the traditional adventurous sport of taming the bull organised at Palamedu near here on Tuesday.

Even as the event was scheduled to commence at 11 a.m., a large number of tourists, including foreigners, thronged the venue quite early. Unlike in the previous years, spectators were not allowed to mingle with the contestants. The police erected barricades and left the arena open only to the bulls and those who braved to challenge them. Decorated bulls with sharp horns were left out through a narrow passage one after the other as the waiting youths displayed their valour in an attempt to tame them. Those who managed to cling on to the hump for some distance were declared winners. A wide range of prizes such as gold coins, cash, wristwatches, dress materials, goats and hens were given on the spot.

Unmindful of the scorching sun, the visitors witnessed the six-hour show that left at least 50 persons injured. Since two persons died and more than 450 were injured in the `jallikattu' last year, many precautionary measures were taken to minimise casualties.

Several medical teams with life-saving drugs and ambulances were stationed at the venue to attend to the injured. The officials checked every contestant with breathalysers and those found to have consumed alcohol were not allowed to participate.

Amidst complaints of cruelty to animals, the Madurai Collector, T. Udhayachandran, directed veterinary doctors to examine the bulls at least three hours ahead of the event. "Two contestants who were in an inebriated condition were turned away. The entry of 15 bulls was also rejected as it was found that they were forced to consume tobacco and camphor in an attempt to make them more ferocious," he said.

The Inspector-General of Police (South Zone), Sanjeev Kumar, the Commissioner of Police, M. Chidambarasamy, and the Madurai Superintendent of Police, T.S. Anbu, were also present.

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