The Supreme Court has issued an interim stay on jallikattu and it is highly unlikely that sport will be conducted this year. What is however certain is that though this not the last we will hear of it, once Pongal goes by and the election season passes, the political capital in the issue will be significantly lower, and the fight for jallikattu would not find too many allies.
Following the Supreme Courtâ€™s interim stay on jallikattu on Tuesday, much of the ire has been directed at activists and the SC. But it is the politicians who are getting away with it easy, thanks to the rhetoric.
For instance, look at how the BJP has dealt with the issue. Since the SC banned the sport in 2014, jallikattu activists have been writing to the PMO and the Union Government asking for their intervention. In its earlier responses to the activists, the PMO clearly stated the SC order is final and that the state has to enforce the law, indicating that there is nothing the Centre can do. But as January approached, with increasing political pressure, BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu became the flag-bearers of Tamil culture and jallikattu.
Even the executive order on January 7 issued by the Centre is a half-hearted attempt. The â€˜tradition and cultureâ€™ argument peddled in the gazette notification was clearly addressed in the SC verdict in 2014, and it is hard to believe that the ministers involved did not know that this would be struck down by the court without a moment's thought. Even now, why are bulls not being removed from the performing animals list, based on which the entire SC verdict is based? Their strategy was and remains simply to shift the blame, doesnâ€™t matter whether the sport is actually conducted.
The same has to be said of the Dravidian parties, the self-proclaimed protectors of Tamil culture, even if the final solution to this is at the hands of the Centre. Why is it that MK Stalin and Jayalalithaa remember jallikattu only in December? It has been 18 months since the SC verdict, and the review petitions were not taken up. Did they not have enough time to mount a public campaign asking for bulls to be removed from the performing animalâ€™s list? If the final solution to this was a change in law, why was the legislative process not initiated? Was there even a private bill presented in the Lok Sabha from an MP from Tamil Nadu in the 6 sessions since the SC verdict?
The rank hypocrisy in TN Congress chief EVKS Elangovan asking for Pon Radhakrishnanâ€™s resignation for not delivering on jallikattu is annoying. If there is one party which can claim credit for banning jallikattu, it would be the Congress party, thanks to former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Jallikattu is now at the brink of becoming a seasonal issue which props up every now and then, only to never be solved. If supporters of jallikattu are serious, they have to delink from the Dravidian parties and mount a transparent public campaign exerting pressure on the government.