Politics

Protests in Sri Lanka, UK and Australia Over Jallikattu

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Competitors try to tame a bull during Jallikattu organised as a part of Pongal celebrations at Alanganallore village in Madurai. Credit: PTI

London/Colombo: Protests demanding a reversal on the ban on the bull-taming sport Jallikattu have spread beyond India, with the Tamil diaspora in Sri Lanka, UK and Australia holding demonstrations.

Hundreds of UK based Indian Tamils have come together to organise a series of protests in favour of Jallikattu this week in London and across the UK.

The protest group includes London Tamil Sangam, World Tamil Organisation and British South Indians. They held protests outside the Indian high commission in London on January 17 and January 18. Further protests are being planned in the city of Leeds in UK and Dublin in Ireland.

“Hundreds have been turning out to highlight that Jallikattu is part of our tradition and identity. We are also working on a major hunger-strike this weekend to raise awareness around the issue in the UK. We are expecting over 1,000 people to join that protest,” a spokesperson for the protest group told PTI.

Protesters have been carrying placards and chanting slogans in Tamil that say, ‘We need Jallikattu’ and ‘Jallikattu is our identity’.

The group has also prepared a petition for the Indian high commission, which reads, “We, Indians living in the UK, have consistently shown our support to the conduct of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. We are gathered here to morally support our brothers and sisters that are leading the peaceful protestations in Alanganallur, Madurai district of Tamil Nadu.”

Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, a protest was held in the Tamil dominated northern capital of Jaffna, yesterday.

Hundreds of people held placards saying ‘Why ban it when it is our culture’ and ‘This is a valued tradition lets permit it’.

The Australian Tamil community has also joined the ongoing protest against the ban on Jallikattu by holding peaceful demonstrations in Melbourne and Sydney, while further protests are being planned.

“Jallikattu is an ancient and traditional Tamil sport. The seals of the Indus Valley civilisation depict it, which is proof that this sport was in vogue more than five, six thousand years ago – why ban it now? It is like taking away a part of our lifestyle,” a protester, Thiru Arumugam was quoted saying by media reports in Sydney.

Anu Shivhaani Palaniappan, who is associated with Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu, said, “there were hundreds of cattle breeds in India a century ago and now there are only 37.”

“By banning Jallikattu, which is a practice to strengthen the bulls and bullocks, the multinationals can create a demand for cattle rearing,” she said.

“Then, they will introduce their own breed varieties. They want to make money by selling us western cattle – bull semen, medicine, etc,” she alleged.