Chennai: The Union Government on Friday paved way for bull-taming sport Jallikattu to return in poll-bound Tamil Nadu following extensive demand for its restoration by political parties in the state.
The decision to allow Jallikattu and bullock cart races in other parts of the country came despite objections by animal rights groups.
The ban on Jallikattu was lifted just ahead of Pongal festivities in the state. A notification to this effect was today issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Crackers were burst and sweets distributed in southern districts of Tamil Nadu to celebrate the news.
"...The Central Government, hereby specifies that following animals shall not be exhibited or trained as performing animal, with effect from the date of publication of this notification, namely bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers, lions and bulls.
"Provided that bulls may be continue to be exhibited or trained as a performing animal, at events such as Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat in the manner by customs of any community or practiced traditionally," the notification said.
However, the Centre has also put some conditions, saying bullock cart race shall be organised on a proper track, which shall not exceed two kilometres.
In case of Jallikattu, the moment the bull leaves the enclosure, it shall be tamed within a radial distance of 15 metre and it should also be ensured that the bulls are put to proper testing by authorities of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department to ensure that they are in good physical condition to participate in the event.
Performance enhancement drugs are not to administered to the bulls.
Jallikattu is an integral part of Pongal festivities in Tamil Nadu and was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014.
Animal rights activists have argued that the sport leads to animal cruelty as well as human deaths.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had last month written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought an ordinance to allow 'Jallikattu'.
The Supreme Court had in May 2014 upheld a notification by the Environment and Forests Ministry categorising bulls in the list of animals which shall not be exhibited or trained as performing animals.
"The Supreme Court consequently ruled that bulls cannot be used as performing animals for Jallikattu events," Jayalalithaa wrote in the letter.
The Tamil Nadu government had filed a review petition before the Supreme Court which is pending.
Centre allows Jallikattu (Bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu). pic.twitter.com/DtCJCI988w
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 8, 2016
(With PTI inputs)