Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government can enact an ordinance to permit Jallikattu during Pongal festival and New Delhi will back it, Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday.
An apex court bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice N.V. Ramana declined to lift an earlier order that put on hold a central government notification allowing Jallikattu and bull races.
Speaking to reporters at Mamallapuram near here, Sitharaman said the central government cannot promulgate an ordinance in this connection as a case was pending in the court.
But the Tamil Nadu government could issue an ordinance and the central government would support it, she added.
Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and political parties in Tamil Nadu had urged the central government to issue an ordinance to allow Jallikattu, an ancient sport held in rural parts of Tamil Nadu during Pongal festival. It involves young men clinging on to the hump of bulls to win prize money.
Meanwhile, Jallikattu supporters held demonstrations while parading their bulls. A hunger strike began in Alanganallur and Palemedu, the two places known for the sport in Madurai district.
Protests were also held in support of the sport in Chennai, Madurai, Salem, Pudukottai and Trichy.
P. Rajasekaran, president of the Jallikattu Paddukappu Peravai, told IANS that there cannot be any cruelty inflicted on the animals as they were subjected to medical examination before and after the event.