A 19-year-old spectator was gored to death by a bull during Avaniyapuram jallikattu, Tamil Nadu's traditional bull-taming sport in Madurai district, which was held amid COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, January 14, on the occasion of Pongal. The accident took place near the bull collection point, and the deceased was identified as T Balamurugan (19) of Avaniyapuram. A bull that exited from the arena hit Balamurugan, who was standing near the collection point, with its horns, and the youth was seriously injured. He was immediately provided first aid by the mobile medical team and was rushed to Madurai Government Rajaji Hospital, but he later succumbed to injuries, according to reports.
The Avaniyapuram jallikattu, which went on for seven rounds, commenced at around 7.30 am on Friday, and was flagged off by State Minister for Commercial Taxes P Moorthy and State Minister for Finance and Human Resources Management PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan, in the presence of Madurai district collector S Aneesh Sekhar.
Taming 24 bulls, one Karthik won the first prize, followed by Murugan (19 bulls) and Bharathkumar (12 bulls). The bull of Manapparai Dhevasahayam was deemed the best bull, followed by five others. More than 700 bulls and 200 tamers participated in the Avaniyapuram jallikattu
The Avaniyapuram jallikattu signals the commencement of jallikattu competitions during the Pongal (harvest) festival in the district. The district would witness the traditional sport at Palamedu on Saturday and culminate with the one at Alanganallur on January 17. While Alanganallur jallikattu, a world famous one, is usually held on January 16, it is being held on Monday this year, owing to the weekend curfew. Though the events are held in other parts of Tamil Nadu, these three successive Jallikattu events in Madurai are major attractions every year.
As per the government guidelines, it was permitted to conduct Jallikattu, manjuvirattu (roughly translates into â€˜bull chasingâ€™) and vadamaadu (a different type of Jallikattu) events with participants not exceeding 300 persons, while a maximum of 150 participants are allowed in â€˜erudhu viduthalâ€™ event. The government had also instructed that the events should be conducted in open space, with number of audiences restricted to 150 or upto 50% capacity of the arena (whichever is lower). All the participants, bull owners, audience, program coordinators and department officials must possess a vaccination certificate that shows that they have got two doses, as well as a negative RT-PCR result in the past 48 hours before the event.
(With inputs from PTI)