Chennai: Supporters of the bull taming sport Jalikattu on Tuesday staged protests in Tamil Nadu after Supreme Court stayed the Centre's notification lifting the ban on it, amidst demands by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and DMK supremo Karunanidhi for an ordinance to hold the event.
Meanwhile Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan assured positive action in this regard. Dismayed supporters and organisers of the sport resorted to agitations and road blockades in some parts of the state and downed shutters in various areas, including those in Madurai district, hitting normalcy.
Police said the situation in some areas in Madurai district where the sport has largely been held traditionally was tense, but under control.
Protests were held in areas including Alanganallur, Palamedu and Avaniapuram in the district.
In one voice, political leaders of Tamil Nadu demanded an ordinance by the Centre to facilitate holding Jallikattu. Recalling her December's request last year to promulgate an ordinance to enable holding Jallikattu, Jayalalithaa said, "Considering the urgency of the issue, I strongly reiterate my earlier request to promulgate an ordinance forthwith to enable the conduct of Jallikattu."
"On behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu I urge you to take immediate action in this regard," she told Modi in a letter.
People's sentiments should be respected, she said, adding arrangements had already been made all over the state to hold Jallikattu and circulars sent to district authorities over it. "It is very important that the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu, who have a deep attachment to the conduct of the traditional event of Jallikattu, are respected," she said.
Echoing her views, DMK chief Karunanidhi said, "All Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have only expressed the opinions reflected in the letter written by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to Prime Minister Modi."
"Hence, the Centre, in particular PM Modi, should take immediate steps in this emotional issue of the Tamil Nadu people," he said.
"On behalf of DMK, I urge that an ordinance amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, be promulgated and help holding Jallikattu sport," he said.
"The court stay is deeply disappointing. The Central government will take appropriate action on this issue after studying the court ruling," Minister of State for Shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan told PTI.
People want cultural practices to be nurtured, he said, adding he would leave for Delhi tomorrow tentatively.
"The issue will be discussed at appropriate official channels," he said.
Later, speaking to reporters, Karunandhi said, "I believe that the Central government will act understanding the feelings of Tamils and not deny what we have sought."
DMK treasurer M K Stalin demanded that the Centre immediately pursue the issue legally, so as to facilitate conduct of the sport in Tamil Nadu.
Expressing disappointment on the court stay, DMDK chief and leader of opposition in State Assembly, Vijayakanth sought legal steps to get the stay of Supreme Court vacated, paving the way for holding the bull taming sport in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief E V K S Elangovan sought steps on a war footing through an ordinance to facilitate the bull taming sport. MDMK general secretary and leader of People's Welfare Front Vaiko said the Central and state governments should take appropriate action to facilitate conducting of Jallikattu. PMK Lok Sabha MP Anbumani Ramadoss asked the Centre to immediately move the court to get the interim stay removed.
"Chief Minister Jayalalithaa should convene an all-party meeting and lead a delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exert pressure and find a permanent solution to the issue," he said. The Supreme Court had earlier in the day stayed the Centre's January 7, 2016 notification, lifting the ban on Jallikattu.
It had also issued notices returnable in four weeks to Environment Ministry and Tamil Nadu over the issue. Animal rights groups had strongly opposed the notification.
The notification lifting the ban was challenged in the apex court by Animal Welfare Board of India, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and a Bangalore-based NGO.
The May 2014 ban on holding the sport was lifted on January 8 by the Modi government in poll-bound Tamil Nadu with certain restrictions.