Centre to abide by SC decision on Jallikattu: Environment minister

NEW DELHI
10 Jan 2017

Amidst growing chorus for holding bull taming sport Jallikattu, the Centre today said it will take a stand on the issue once the matter is decided by Supreme Court while hoping that the apex court will "take care" of the sentiments of the society. A day after Tamil Nadu government urged the Centre to consider promulgating an ordinance to enable the conduct of the sport, Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said that the matter should be looked into especially when there is no violence involved in the sport and it has been a tradition of a society. A day after filmstar Kamal Hassan defended Jallikattu, saying all those who hate the bull sport should give up on biryani too, Dave wondered why cognizance is not being taken when the sport is a animal friendly and non violent. "Presently the case is in the Supreme Court. The decision is pending. When the decision is pending, at that time, as a government we only can wait for the decision. Before decision, it is difficult to say what can be done. "But the moment the decision comes, tomorrow or day after tomorrow, we will take our stand. I think the Court will take care of the sentiments of society. It is the tradition. The moment decision will come, we will examine and we will go ahead," Dave told reporters. TN Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying "Given that Pongal festival, which holds great importance to the people of Tamil Nadu, is less than a week away and Jallikattu is an integral part of the Pongal festivities, considering the urgency of the issue, Government of India should consider promulgating an ordinance removing the legal impediments, enabling the conduct of Jallikattu during Pongal, 2017," he said in the letter. "When the matter is in SC, then the decision is not there. Hearing is almost complete. Now SC is supposed to give decision. The moment they will, government will take its decision," Dave said when asked if the government can come out with an ordinance as demanded by the state. Defending the game of Jallikattu currently banned in Tamil Nadu, superstar Kamal Haasan had yesterday reportedly said he is a big fan and all those who hate the bull sport should give up on biryani too. "I have a pulse on the society. A star has said...In Jallikattu we are not preparing Biryani or making shorba. Its a very animal friendly thing. They are making biryani and you are not saying anything."Here they are just going to play with that and it is a simply non violent activity, we are not taking cognizance. I am closely keeping watch on that. I am very much concerned about TN. But at present, we are expecting a stay and decision from Supreme Court," Dave said. Dave said that his Ministry has put everything on the board and the "Court knows about tradition in TN and also the complete picture is there in front of the court," he said. Dave said that this problem arose in 2011 when the UPA government included bulls in the list (of animals prohibited from being exhibited or trained as performing animals). "In 2016, we have made it very clear to the Court that we want to deduct bull from the list and particularly. In a country like India where emotion and culture plays a vital role in the construction of a society, it (the sport) is not professionally or materialistically driven society. "It is a society which has values, emotionally driven and old traditions. We have given in our reply to Supreme Court that it will be better that we remove this (bulls from list). We removed it as well. But then again SC took cognizance," Dave said. Dave said "If violence is not there, if non violence is there, and if it is a tradition of the society, we will have to look into that (the issue of Jallikattu)."  The Supreme Court in November last had dismissed the plea of the state government, seeking review of its 2014 judgement banning use of bulls for Jallikattu events in the state. Political parties, including DMK, have been pressing the Centre and state government to take steps to hold the sport coinciding with Pongal, the Tamil harvest festival, this year. Protests have also been held across the state, including here, by Jallikattu supporters, demanding that the sport be held this year coinciding with Pongal.(PTI)