Pongal festival, a celebration of nature’s bounty, is just three days away. The festival is also the time when bull tamers are allowed to organise jallikattu, a traditional bull-taming sport.
A total of 936 fitness certificate applications by bull tamers have been accepted by the public health department on Saturday ahead of the harvest festival. The applications were scrutinised from a total of 956 applications.
Fitness certification for Alanganallur jallikattu participants was held on Friday and the selection for Palamedu was held on Saturday. According to TOI, bull-tamers were checked for their age, weight, and BMI. While participants should be between 21 and 45 years of age, they should not weigh less than 55 kgs and their BMI should fall between 19 and 21. The tamers were also checked to see if they were free of any non-communicable disease like asthma or cardiac problems.
The jallikattu events will be held between January 15, 16 and 17 at Avaniapuram, Palamedu and Alanganallur in Madurai district. According to a report in TOI, the Madurai district police are making arrangements to live stream the events through the Madurai Kavalan app, Madurai district police Youtube channel and their Facebook page.
According to The Hindu, the registration of bulls will take place from 9.00 am on Monday at Avaniapuram Veterinary Dispensary, Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Alanganallur and at Government Higher Secondary School in Palamedu.
For the event at Avaniapuram, Collector TG Vinay chaired a meeting along with Commissioner of Police S Davidson Devasirvatham and Corporation Commissioner S Visakan. During the meeting, the collector urged the officials to ensure basic amenities at the venues and for ambulances to be kept ready to deal with medical emergencies.
This dangerous and violent sport has seen many casualties over the years. Last year, Madurai district administration enrolled participants in a mandatory insurance scheme that is applicable in the event of death. The jallikattu participants were reportedly asked to visit their banks to sign up for the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) scheme which would provide them with a risk-coverage of upto Rs 2 lakh.
In 2017, following massive protests across Tamil Nadu, the banned bull-taming sport was legitimised through an ordinance by the Tamil Nadu government. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was amended for the state on the grounds that jallikattu plays a vital role in preserving and promoting the culture and tradition in large parts of the state.