Speaking exclusively to WION, founder of the Art of Living Sri Sri Ravishankar said the sentiments of the people regarding Jallikattu should be respected. “It is a very important festival for the people of Tamil Nadu. Their side of the story was represented well,” said Sri Sri Ravishankar.
He said Sankranti and Pongal are bigger than Diwali for Tamils and this sentiment has to be respected. “Bulls are decorated and well taken care off and if you ban them it is like saying that people should not visit sisters on bhai dooj festival,” he said. Sri Sri Ravishankar argued that bull sport is not confined to Tamil Nadu only as it is prevalent in other states.
On the question of cruelty against animals he said that specific cases can be looked into but to ban the whole festival is not correct. He insisted that stringent laws and rules should be implemented instead of banning the festival itself. He even argued that if bulls aren’t used in the festival then they are sent to the slaughter houses.
“If cruelty against the animals has to be stopped then slaughter houses need to be closed down. Banning them would eventually diminish the stock of the native breed,” he said. He argued that in Odisha 15 indigenous breed of bulls have been lost. “People suspect it to be a conspiracy against indigenous breeds,” he said.
The Jallikattu ban has evoked a sharp response in Tamil Nadu and has led to state-wide protests, particularly at the Marina Beach in Chennai. Sri Sri Ravishankar also said that he is not against progressive law-making but said that ban doesn’t make it progressive law-making. “We are missing the point. We have to look into the process of the festival. It has riled up the whole community and this needs to factored in,” he said. Though he refrained from commenting on the issue of judicial activism.
He admitted that the witch hunt against PETA must end and added that the misgivings regarding the organisation must be addressed.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring in an ordinance to override the Supreme Court’s verdict. The CM met PM Modi on Thursday. Modi assured him of the Centre’s full support. Modi also said that a Central team would be sent to the state shortly.