TRICHY: Defying a Supreme Court ban, Anbil village near Lalgudi in Trichy district organized a jallikattu on Saturday morning with 65 bulls and 40 tamers. The nearest police station, about 10 km away, turned a blind eye as villagers gathered in the square called Mariamman Thidal, and cheered the participants as they tried to “tame” the bulls. The event is said to have started at 10am and went on until noon. The village has been organizing the bull sport for more than three decades, locals told TOI proudly. A video clip of the event was circulated among mediapersons.
The bulls were brought from several neighbouring villagers and kept ready a couple of days ahead of the event. About 600 villagers gathered at the venue where the event was organized by village heads despite the Supreme Court last week staying an Union government notification allowing bull-taming and bullock cart racing. A villager, who witnessed the Anbil event, told TOI on condition of anonymity, that “no one was injured”. As the sport got under way, several spectators too joined in, trying to cling to the bulls’ hump as it ran for a short distance, he said.
“The ultimate motive was to keep the traditional sport alive. For this, we had to go against the Supreme Court verdict. Since we had planned it within a short period of time, no prizes were distributed to the tamers or bull owners,” said a jallikattu organizer, not willing to be named. Lalgudi, 30 km from Trichy, and a famous venue, has been organizing jallikattu for decades. While the sport was not held in 2015 in deference to the SC ban, villagers were determined to organize the event this time, he said.
“We were elated when the centre issued a notification allowing jallikattu. But, then came the news that SC stayed the notification, disappointing thousands of enthusiasts,” said an organizer, who said another jallikattu would be held on Sunday. Trichy Superintendent of police S Rajeswari denied claims that jallikattu was organized in Anbil. She said there were less than 100 villagers at the spot.
“Only a temple bull was allowed to run for a short distance as a symbolic gesture without the tamers. About four bulls were brought to the venue by the spectators and the attempt to organize jallikattu was foiled with the police reaching the spot after getting the information,” she said. A constable at the police station near Anbil, however contradicted her senior. She said personnel from the police station near Anbil were sent to Suriyur a famous jallikattu venue in Pudukkottai to prevent the sport from being held there. “We did not have sufficient personnel to be sent to Anbil,” she said.