Protesters held a 4km race in Ettimadai, demanding that the ban on rekla and jallikattu be lifted.

Now rekla enthusiasts defy SC order 50 vehicles race to the finish in Coimbatore
news Rekla Friday, January 13, 2017 - 18:59

A day after the Supreme Court refused to deliver a verdict on the use of bulls in religious festivals, rekla enthusiasts in Tamil Nadu protested the ban by conducting a 4km race on Friday. 50 rekla vehicles participated in the race held in Ettimadai and went through several villages in the area, many of them holding posters against the ban.

The people who participated in the protest questioned PETA’s stand on the issue. “These are indigenous breeds and we take care of them even when we don’t have enough food for ourselves. Who is PETA to question us?” asked Karthik, a young farmer and rekla enthusiast. “We have a right to conduct jallikattu and rekla, which are our traditional sports. While jallikattu is popular in Madurai and Theni areas, rekla is the local sport in Coimbatore and Erode. What will be the fate of the native breeds if both these sports are banned?”

Protesters say the system has left them with no choice but to go against the law. “We’re all farmers and we don’t want to break any laws. But the government’s inaction on changing the law banning jallikattu and rekla, and the Supreme Court’s refusal to lift the ban have left us with no choice,” says Ayyasamy, a farmer who participated in the race.

On January 7, 2016, the Centre had issued a notification allowing the bull to be used in traditional sports such as jallikattu and rekla, with some restrictions. However, just three days before Pongal last year, the Supreme Court had overruled this notification while hearing petitions filed by Animal Welfare Board of India, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and a Bangalore-based NGO. On Thursday, the apex court refused to hear an interlocutory application, seeking a relief on the ban before Pongal, calling it an unfair request.