With the season of Tamil Nadu’s traditional Jallikattu round the corner, actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) leader Kamal Haasan Friday expressed his wish to organise the rural bull sport in Chennai and said that his party workers are taking steps to get the requisite permission from the authorities concerned.
The actor-turned-politician, while addressing reporters in Chennai after meeting MNM functionaries who had returned after participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi, said, “Our wish is to educate the urban residents about the significance and greatness of the sport. We are hoping we will get the nod.”
When asked why there was a need to conduct a rural sport like Jallikattu in the state capital, Haasan said that people may have forgotten the protest that happened in the name of Jallikattu in Chennai’s Marina Beach but he hasn’t.
The actor was referring to the massive protest in 2017 in which the residents of Tamil Nadu, without any political affiliations, gathered on the Marina beach to protest against the Supreme Court ban on the sport based on the petitions of various animal welfare organisations. The protest which was aimed to preserve the Tamil identity and tradition was considered as one of the largest mass movements without a leader in the state.
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The bull-taming competition of Jallikattu popularly takes place in areas such as Alanganallur, Avaniyapuram, and Palamedu in Madurai and also in the rural belts of Pudukkotai, Tiruchirapalli, and Dindigul. The season begins in Tamil Nadu during the Pongal festival in mid-January.
“It cannot take place at the same venue (Marina Beach) due to various legal issues. But, it can happen in some other space,” Haasan said.
Soon after the Jallikattu protests in 2017, the Tamil Nadu government issued orders prohibiting demonstrations on Marina Beach.
According to PTI, in 2017, amid continuing protests, the state assembly unanimously passed an amendment bill for conducting the sport without any hindrance. Replacing an ordinance promulgated to allow Jallikattu, the Bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, was unanimously adopted by the House after members of all parties hailed the legislative initiative.
‘Bharat Jodo Yatra is beyond party lines’
Reiterating that Bharat Jodo Yatra is beyond party lines, Haasan said the MNM functionaries came to Delhi to join the rally “after hearing a single voice”. “We informed the functionaries that the Yatra is a first step, it is beyond party lines and it is our responsibility to regain the lost values. Further, we informed the next set of measures that we are planning,” Haasan told reporters.
Kamal Haasan on December 24 joined the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in New Delhi alongside Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. During a speech at the Red Fort, the actor said he joined the rally as an Indian.
“My father was a Congressman. I have had various ideologies, went around and started my own political party but when it comes to the country, all party lines have to blur. I blurred that line and came here,” Haasan had said.