It was close to 11am on Friday morning, and 48-year-old Shankaran, a sub inspector in Vellore district was hard at work, controlling crowds at a Jallikattu event near Gudiyatham. He had just told some youths to move away from the path the bull will be released into and was walking with his back to the Vadivasal, to warn others when he was lifted by a brute force.
A brown bull, adorned in bells and flowers had rammed right into the policeman, lifting him with its horns and carrying him nearly 10 metres before he fell to the side. Stunned passers by could be seen rushing towards Shankaran, in a video that is now viral, even as the animal makes its escape.
"I was just trying to tell these boys to move away if they are not participating," Shankaran tells TNM. "The next thing I knew I was lifted into the air and was in complete shock. There were other policemen present there too but nobody could do a thing. It was terrifying," he adds.
Luckily for Shankaran, the bull's horn grazed his leather belt, protecting him from the worst.
"But I have cracked a rib due to the fall and I am resting now," he explains.
A sub inspector in Vellore district was hit by a bull in Jallikattu event. He tells TNM that he has cracked a rib and that future events should have better barricades to protect non participants. @thenewsminute pic.twitter.com/czL12beEZH— priyankathirumurthy (@priyankathiru) January 19, 2020
This police officer's injury only added to the growing list of casualties due to Jallikattu events in Tamil Nadu this year. Five persons have been killed after coming in the way of rampaging bulls this year and over 30 people were injured.
In Alanganallur in Madurai district, two persons were killed on Friday and over 30 persons were injured. Amongst those killed was Sridhar from Sholavandan who was hit by his own bull during the event. Chellapandi, who was there to watch the event, fainted in the gallery. He was administered First Aid at the Primary Healthcare Centre but died on the way to the hospital. On Sunday, a 21-year-old engineering student from Madurai, Alagarsamy, also succumbed to injuries he received while he had gone to watch the event.
In Trichy district Palaniyandi, a 55-year-old bull owner was gored to death by a contesting bull when he was trying to rope in his own bull. Meanwhile, 23-year-old Uththarakumar, died when a bull attacked while he was taking a selfie with his friends near Edappadi.
Shankaran admits that Jallikattu events are a tricky situation to handle when asked about the deaths and injuries.
"One way to prevent such injuries is to set stronger, bigger and more barricades separating the audience from the bulls," he offers.