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Mumbai's Tamils form human chain to support Jallikattu

A day after few Tamils from Mumbai’s Dharavi area protested against the ban on Jallikattu on Tuesday, more from the area came forward to stage a peaceful human chain on Wednesday to mark their oppostion.

Standing on the 90 feet road, youth held banners which read: ‘I support Jallilkattu’, ‘We want Jallikattu’, and ‘Ban PETA’ among others. The protesters held this protest in order to support the people of Tamil Nadu, where police detained and lathi charged protesters from Alanganallur.

Navaneethan Murugiah, a resident of Dharavi, said, “Over 100 people joined the protest on Wednesday. We all feel that Jallikattu is part of our Tamil traditional culture and we have to protect it rather than ban it. We are showing our support to our brothers and sisters who are protesting in Tamil Nadu and facing atrocities by the police and government. We want them to know that Mumbai is with them. We will protest until PETA knows the diverse support that Jallikattu recieves from all over India.”

Jallikattu (bull taming), has been practiced in Tamil Nadu for centuries and is a part of the Pongal celebrations. In 2014, India’s Supreme Court had order a ban on the practice, citing animal welfare issues.

Explaining why they are protesting, Murugiah added, “We want to preserve one of the traditions of Tamil culture. We are not blindly supporting the cause. We are aware of the health and economical advantage of Indian bulls and cows which is exploited by banning Jallikattu. In the process, foreign breeds are being promoted.” The youngsters took to social media platforms to raise their voice and to reach out to the public at large.

Iniyan Thomas, a Dharavi resident, said, “We have been reaching out to other people staying in Dharavi through Facebook. We want people to come together and raise their voice to support us. There are six breeds of the bulls which are used for Jallikattu but there has been a decrease in the number of bulls since a few years.”

The protest which went on for around three hours, was posted on social media using the hashtags, #DharaviForJallikattu, #JallikattuProtest, #MumbaiSupportJallikattu.

HC verdict

As pro-Jallikattu protests took place in Chennai, the Madras High Court on Wednesday said it will not ‘interfere’ on the issue of protests against the ban on Jallikattu, holding that the Supreme Court was seized of the matter. The SC on January 12 rejected a plea urging it to pass judgement on the sport before Pongal festival.

The apex court had outlawed Jallikattu in 2014 and the state government’s review petition was also dismissed last December. It has reserved judgement on the Centre’s notification of last year to exempt Jallikattu from the ban.