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Namakkal conducts first zero-injury jallikattu

Probably for the first time ever in the history of this rural sport, nobody was injured in the jallikattu held at Alanganatham village in Namakkal district on Sunday. This record was attained not due to the caution taken by the brave young men but because they were off the field and clinging to the barricades well in advance before the fierce bulls and calves charged out of their enclosures.

A total 49 bulls and calves and 50 bullfighters who had registered with the organisers participated in the game that complied with majority of the Supreme Court directions. Jallikattu observer and Animal Welfare Board (AWB) Officer Kalpana Vasudevan who supervised the event told The Hindu that the aims of the board and the Supreme Court were attained through the injury-free jallikattu.

Kalpana attributed the absence of injuries to stringent rules followed by the AWB that, according to her, played a key role in curbing traditionally followed wrong practices such as sprinkling chilly powder in animal’s eyes, drugging them and inflicting bodily injuries. “Such acts aggravated the animal’s wild instincts and spurred them to attack anyone coming in their way, not sparing silent spectators too”, she added.

Of the total 52 bulls that were registered with the board to take part in the event, three were rejected as they did not fulfil the criterion. Blood tests and physical examination for bodily injuries was conducted for all the 49 bulls before they entered the field today. The only violation was decorating the animals with colour powder that could harm its skin, Mrs. Kalpana said. Bamboo barricades were neatly tied on either side of the road for more than one kilometre while police diverted traffic at the Alanganatham Junction on the Namakkal- Thurayiur Road about half an hour before the event commenced. Teams of doctors and veterinarians were pressed into service for the event.

Unregistered bulls that were brought to the event venue were not permitted to participate in the competition. A couple of animals got agitated when a few miscreants burst firecrackers and were immediately removed from the spot. The observer said that the entire event was videographed and would be submitted to the Supreme Court through the AWB along with a detailed report.

There was fear more than lack of enthusiasm among the young bullfighters who preferred staying away from the bulls despite the attractive prize-money and jewels – up to two kilograms of silver per bull. Interestingly, only five medium sized bulls of the total of 49 animals were caught during the 90-minute event. Other bulls casually walked across the field.

Earlier, District Collector S. Madumathi flagged off the event. Thousands of locals from in and around Namakkal district witnessed the event.

Source: The Hindu

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