16/01/2017 6:22 PM IST | Updated 16/01/2017 6:46 PM IST

Massive Protests In Madurai Against The Ban On Jallikattu

Shops remained closed, people hoisted black flags on their homes.

Paddy Photography via Getty Images

CHENNAI -- Thousands of people on Monday took to the streets in Madurai's Alanganallur town in Tamil Nadu protesting a ban against Jallikattu, the ancient and popular bull-taming sport that marks the Makar Sankranthi celebrations.

The protesters, including both men and women, have assembled in the town well known for conducting Jallikattu.

A large contingent of police personnel has been deployed in the town to prevent any violent incidents.

Meanwhile, Jallikattu was held defying then Supreme Court's ban on it in Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu. In some places, rekla or bullock-cart races were held.

However, as Jallikattu was not allowed to be held, people hoisted black flags on their homes and shops remained closed at Alanganallur.

This time the sport was held in places traditionally not associated with Jallikattu so as to avoid the police preventing it.

Speaking to reporters here, Union Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan said the event should not be seen as defying the Supreme Court order but as an expression of people's feelings.

He said organisations like PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) will submit the pictures taken on Monday to the Supreme Court and demand a ban on it.

Radharkrishnan felt that the apex court should not take into consideration such pictures as it is just a protest and nothing more.

In Jallikattu, a bull vaulter is expected to hang on to the bull's hump for a stipulated distance or hold on to the hump for a minimum of three jumps made by the bull.

The Supreme Court in May 2014 banned the conduct of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The court also held that bulls cannot be used as performing animals either for Jallikattu events or for bullock-cart races in the Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.

Ever since the ban order, people have been demanding that the central government take necessary legal steps to allow conduct of the sport.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on January 9 urged the central government to promulgate an ordinance enabling the conduct of Jallikattu/bull-taming sport during the Pongal festival.

But that did not happen, and led to protest demonstrations at several places across Tamil Nadu, culminating in a massive protest at Alanganallur.

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