From January 15, lakhs of youth and students across the length and breadth of Tamilnadu have been organizing and participating in massive protest demonstrations. They have occupied Marina Beach in Chennai, as well as prominent centers in Madurai and other towns of Tamilnadu demanding revocation of the ban on Jallikattu.
Jallikattu is a bull taming sport which has been an integral part of Tamil culture through the ages. It is an integral part of the harvest festival Pongal, one of the most important festivals of the Tamil people.
The Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in 2014, leading to a spate of protests all over the state. The reason advanced for the ban was that the sport involved cruelty to the bulls. In January 2016, just ahead of the Tamilnadu Assembly elections, the Environment Ministry issued a notification allowing Jallikattu and bullock cart races. The notification was immediately stayed by the Supreme Court.
Thus for the past three years, their most important festival Pongal has been marked with great tension for the people. The Central government and the Supreme Court have diabolically worked in tandem to create a terrible situation of uncertainty for the people.
On January 8, 2017, the Supreme Court refused to give its decision on whether the 2016 notification of the central government permitting Jallikattu conditionally is valid. In other words, the ban on Jallikattu would continue during this year’s Pongal celebrations. Hundreds of people were arrested by the police forces during Pongal celebrations for opposing the ban and organizing Jallikattu. The anger of the people against this criminalization of their festival and culture has resulted in the massive outpouring of protests all over Tamilnadu.
Faced with the massive outpouring of people’s anger, the Central Government has launched on a devious plan to divert and disrupt the struggle of the people. Prime Minister Modi and his ministers first declared how they were sympathetic to the demands of the people of Tamilnadu, but could not promulgate an ordinance allowing Jallikattu because the matter was in the Supreme Court.
Just three days later, on January 21, 2017, the President approved an ordinance passed by the Tamilnadu Government amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The Central Government asked the Supreme Court to delay release of any orders related to Jallikattu for a week, citing law and order problems. The Tamilnadu Chief Minister O Paneerselvam declared that Jallikattu would be organized all over the state on January 22, 2017. He called upon the people to give up their protests.
The people of Tamilnadu have not been fooled by these games of the Central government, the Supreme Court and the Tamilnadu government. They have demanded a permanent lifting of the ban on Jallikattu. In Allanganallur, people blocked the roads leading to 'Vaadi Vaasal', the gateway from where bulls come out. Allanganallur near Madurai is the traditional centre for this sport. In Marina Beach in Chennai, there were more protestors than before on January 22. They have refused to give up their protest until the Supreme Court and the Central Government revoke the ban on Jallikattu permanently.
On the one hand, the Central Government and the Supreme Court are making out that the people of Tamilnadu do not care for the wellbeing of the bulls used in the sport. On the other hand, they are telling the people of Tamilnadu that some NGO’s and animal rights activists are the cause of the problem. This is a typical method of the Indian state and its institutions to divide the people and divert their attention from the real trouble maker and source of their problems.
The real trouble maker, the real source of the problem, is the central Government and the Supreme Court. Together they systematically implement the divide and rule policy to smash the unity of our people. They are responsible for inflaming passions on the basis of religion, caste, language, sharing of river waters, boundaries between states and any number of other issues. They have supervised communal genocides again and again, and the guilty have never been punished. The people can never expect any justice from the Indian state, including its courts.
The Communist Ghadar Party of India condemns the Central Government and the Supreme Court for its attack on the people of Tamilnadu.