Andhra Jallikattu: Police remain silent spectators as tradition sustains

Chittoor: Despite Animal Welfare activists protesting against Jallikattu, villages of Kuppam in Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh) has been observing the event for past few days. Jallikattu is an age-old tradition of bull-taming sport popular in Tamil Nadu, who shares its border with the Kuppam villages.

Irrespective of age, thousands thronged to Kanamanapalli, Rangampeta, V Kota, Ramakuppam and a few other villages to witness Great Bullock Mylaru festival on January 5. The festival is Chittoor’s version of Jallikattu. Interestingly, youngsters from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala came to the villages to attend the event.

The youngsters participated in the bull-taming sports with much vigour as the organisers have announced huge prize money ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 50,000 and many other gifts. During the event, the organisers claimed that Chittoor’s festival is not related to Tamil Nadu’s Jallikattu in terms of ferocity, as the former is more about livestock. However, the locals have mentioned that some youngsters who participated in the events suffered injuries.

G Ramulu Naidu, one of the organisers of the event at Kanamanapalli, said that the rules of the sports are simple. One had to snatch a slate fastened between the horns of the animal as it runs amok through a winding path. Sometimes, currency note bundles ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 are tied to the slates, and the winner takes it all.

The organisers tie the prize money slate or prize money (cash) to the bull’s horns, which are sharpened before the festival by the animal’s owners. The participant snatches the slate or prize money by bringing the animal under his control.

The organisers of the Great Bullock Mylaru Festival collect Rs 1,500 as entry fee and announce that they are not responsible for any injuries during the event. The organisers also cautioned inebriated people from participating in the sport.

Very recently, the Apex Court of India had imposed a ban on Jallikattu, citing that both the bulls and tamers face risk to their life. The organisers ignored police instructions and the court’s directions, and they said that the sport would continue till Sankranti, as it is part of their tradition. Though Chittoor police have decided to act against the event, they had to confine themselves to being spectators in fear of rising communal issues.

The police had pasted posters in the villages about the deadly sport, but they failed to prevent the event. “We will continue our fight against Jallikattu in the coming days,” J Venkat, an activist, said.

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