Chennai: Tamil Nadu erupted in joy as the central government on Friday announced its decision to allow the traditional Jallikattu or bull taming sport during the state's Pongal festival.
People at places like Madurai and Trichy, where Jallikattu is traditionally held, were the most elated.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the decision.
"I am very grateful to you for your prompt response in the matter, which has enabled the conduct of `Jallikattu', a sport which upholds traditional cultural values and traditions of Tamil Nadu and has great historical significance and also ensures the ... continuance of traditional breeds of indigenous cattle," she said in a communication to Modi.
"I am very happy to learn that the ministry of environment, forests and climate change has issued a notification that has paved the way for the conduct of the traditional sport," she said.
The central government bowed to the strong demand made by various organisations and political parties to permit the traditional bull taming sport that was banned by the Supreme Court to prevent cruelty to animals.
The central government, in a gazette notification, removed bulls form the list of animals that are banned from public display.
The central government allowed bulls to be exhibited as a performing animal at Jallikattua and bullock-cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat.
Leaders of various political parties in Tamil Nadu welcomed the central government's decision to allow Jallikattu.
DMK president M Karunanidhi thanked the central government and the steps taken by union minister Pon Radhakrishnan and others for lifting the ban on the traditional sport.
MDMK leader Vaiko and PMK founder S. Ramadoss also welcomed the Centre's decision.
However, the permission is subject to conditions like sanction from the district collector or the district magistrate.
The bullock-cart races are to be held on proper track and the bulls have to be tamed within a distance of 15 metres from their enclosure.
The bulls should also be put to proper testing by officials of the animal husbandry and veterinary department ensuring their good health and no performance enhancing drugs are administered to them.
In May 2014, the Supreme Court 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 Tamil Nadu government filed a review petition before the Supreme Court.