Two spectators, including a 12-year-old boy, were gored to death at a Jallikattu event on Tuesday, January 17 in Sivagangai district. The boy has been identified as Baskar. The second victim’s identity is currently unknown. According to early reports, the two victims were killed during a match for the Manjuvirattu form of Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu’s bull-taming sport. Manjuvirattu is played in some southern districts like Madurai and Sivagangai.
Jallikattu matches have been taking place since January 15 in districts across Tamil Nadu to celebrate Pongal, the Tamil harvest festival. Over a 100 bulls and several hundred tamers have reportedly participated at each of these events, each day, over that past week.
Earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development Udhayanidhi Stalin inaugurated the Jallikattu match at Alanganallur in Madurai district. Speaking to the media after the inauguration, the Minister had said, “The matches have been proceeding so far without any casualties and with the protection of the Tamil Nadu government. Our aim is to conduct the matches without any deaths or anyone sustaining injuries.”
Police lathi-charged spectators at the Alanganallur match later in the afternoon after massive crowds gathered from other districts as well. According to Puthiyathalaimurai TV, thousands had arrived at the venue and as the spectator area was inadequate, the crowds became uncontrollable. The channel also reported that one person fainted during the lathi-charge and was rushed to a nearby hospital.