Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming sport began today in Tamil Nadu's Madurai district with strict Covid-19 safety guidelines in place.
As many as 150 people can participate in the event held at Avaniyapuram, wherein they are required to tame the bulls who are set free on a fenced street. The state government has capped the number of audience to 50 per cent of the participants and mandated that everyone wears a mask to ensure safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The event is held as the nation observes the auspicious day of Pongal, the harvest festival in the Tamil month of 'Thai' in January.
#WATCH Tamil Nadu: #Jallikattu begins in Avaniyapuram of Madurai.— ANI (@ANI) January 14, 2021
Over 200 bulls are participating in the competition. In the wake of #COVID19, State govt directed that number of players shouldn't be over 150 at an event. Number of spectators not more than 50% of the gathering. pic.twitter.com/VdVCLgPIon
Alanganallur and Palamedu are among the regions in Tamil Nadu that have been hosting the events for ages.
Jallikattu was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014 after coming under the scanner of animal rights groups. The Animal Welfare Board of India and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had filed a petition challenging the animal cruelty intrinsic to the festival. Activists claimed that bulls are abused and tortured.
The state government, however, insisted that Jallikattu was an important part of culture and identity. The ban was removed three years later following massive protests when the Tamil Nadu government passed an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The state government gave the go-ahead last month to hold the bull-taming festival during the pandemic with coronavirus guidelines in place.
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