As the jallikattu debate rages on, the grand-old Congress party has changed its stance on the bull-taming sport in a span of less than a year.
With thousands of people protesting at Marina Beach in Chennai and elsewhere in Tamil Nadu, the Congress spokesperson Randeep S Surjewala on January 19 said:
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 19, 2017
Even as Surjewala tried to undo the damage, the party’s another spokesperson and a senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi doubled up as the counsel for the petitioners calling for a ban on the bull-taming sport. He said jallikattu is not a sport, it is a “brutal and wanton” torture of an animal.
In May last year, the Congress in its manifesto for Tamil Nadu’s Assembly polls said it supported the 2014 Supreme Court ban on the sport that some believe is cruel to bulls.
The Congress is now conveniently blaming the Centre and the AIADMK state government for its alleged scant regard for people’s sentiments. The Congress is also joined by the opposition DMK.
The DMK thinks the BJP is trying to ‘Brahminise’ Tamil Nadu by not allowing jallikattu, despite the fact that the decision to ban it was taken by the Supreme Court in May 2014.
Last year on January 7, the BJP-led Centre had revoked the ban on Jallikattu via a notification.
“The mother of problem is the Congress-led UPA government which included bulls in performing list in 2011”, said Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave. He referred to a July 2011 notification which listed all the animals that can’t be used to provide entertainment or ‘perform’ and bulls were on that list.
Tamil Nadu’s chief minister O Panneerselvam on January 19 met PM Modi in New Delhi to discuss the case which is currently in the Supreme Court. The prime minister said he respects the cultural value of Tamil Nadu, but the matter is subjudice.
Jallikattu is a bull-taming sport and an integral part of Tamil culture. It is organised during the harvest festival Pongal. The sport is more than two millennia old. A 2,500-year-old cave painting discovered near Madurai, shows a man trying to control a bull.
The Supreme Court preferred to stay away from the pro-Jallikattu protests across Tamil Nadu and said the issue of protecting the agitating supporters of the bull-taming sport can be raised before the Madras High Court.
Many Tamil actors such as Suriya, sportspersons such as R Ashwin and world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand have come out in support of the sport. Spiritual leaders such as Jaggi Vasudev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have also backed the sport.