Today, Tamil Nadu chief minister Pannerselvam met with PM Narendra Modi to discuss the escalating pro-Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu. The latter told the CM that while the Centre appreciated the cultural significance of Jallikattu, the matter is presently in court. Jallikattu, or bull-taming, was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014 on the grounds of animal cruelty. Since then, the ban has been revoked and re-imposed, after which the matter is now in the Supreme Court. However, even as the apex court deliberates - it couldn't give a verdict in time for Pongal when the sport is played - protests have broken out all over Tamil Nadu in favour of continuing the sport which Jallikattu supporters say is a 'tradition', a matter of 'Tamil pride' and something courts don't have a right to pass verdict on. Marina Beach in Chennai is 'occupied' by protestors demanding Jallikattu be brought back. Here is all you need to know about the controversy
Reports that tracked the sport from 2010 to 2014 said it caused approximately 1,100 injuries and 17 deaths. Some reports also say that more than 200 people have died from the sport over the past two decades.
The first ban on Jallikattu was instituted in March 2006 by the Madras high court. This happened after a petitioner approached the court to actually get a permit to raise bulls.
Three years later, in July 2009, the state government passed the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Regulation Act 2009. The Act allowed the sport, but with some conditions like making it mandatory for the district collector to give permission to hold events.
In July 2011, the then environment minister Jairam Ramesh issued a notification banning the use of bulls as 'performing animals'.
In May 2014, the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition against Jallikattu by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), clarified that bulls must not be used in Jallikattu, bull races, bullfights or any other type of performance. The court also struck down the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Regulation Act 2009.
On January 7, 2016, the Centre revoked the ban on Jallikattu via a notification. It stressed that bulls should not be subjected to cruelty.
Later in January 2016, PETA and AWBI challenge the Centre's notification in the Supreme Court and the court stays the notification. Effectively, Jallikattu is banned again. The top court then issued notices to the Centre and other states asking them to file their responses in four weeks, to petitions challenging the central government's notification allowing Jallikattu and bullock-cart races.
The Supreme Court said in July 2016 it has set August 30 as the final hearing date to decide on the constitutionality of Jallikattu, but it asserted it disapproves of arguments that the 'sport' should be allowed because it's centuries old. 'By this logic should courts allow child marriage, which too was a part of custom for centuries,' the top court asked. 'The mere presence of tradition can't justify practices,' the court said.
In November 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea of the Tamil Nadu government that sought a review of the 2014 judgement.
In December 2016, the Supreme Court questioned the Centre for its January notification that allowed the use of bulls in events like Jallikattu. The court said its 2014 verdict banning the use of the animals cannot be 'negated'.
With the Pongal festival approaching in January 2016, Tamil Nadu's chief minister O Panneerselvam, earlier in the month, requested PM Narendra Modi to pass an ordinance allowing Jallikattu during the festival.
On January 13, the Supreme Court said it cannot deliver its verdict on Jallikattu before the harvest festival of Pongal, which is on January 14-15. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi
Protests began in Tamil Nadu around January 16. They spread across the state and the movement is seen as reminiscent of the anti-Centre, anti-Hindi movement of decades earlier.
Pro-Jallikattu activists 'occupy' Marina Beach in Chennai. As protests gather steam, the Tamil Nadu chief minister comes to Delhi to meet PM Modi to resolve the issue.
Today, January 19, Pannerselvam met with PM Modi. The latter told the CM that while the Centre appreciated the cultural significance of Jallikattu, that matter is presently sub-judice