CHENNAI -- After a nearly three-year-long ban, the traditional bull taming sport jallikattu is set for a grand return in Tamil Nadu on Sunday with Governor Vidyasagar Rao on Saturday promulgating an ordinance in the face of massive protests that have paralysed the state for the last five days.
Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who announced the approval given by the Governor for the ordinance, will launch jallikattu at Alanganallur in Madurai which is famous for conducting the rural sport, at 10 am.
Moving swiftly, the Centre on Friday night cleared the ordinance paving the way for Tamil Nadu government to promulgate it in an effort to end the protests. Rao, who is Governor of Maharashtra, holds Tamil Nadu as additional charge and reached Chennai in the evening to give his approval.
The protesters, who gathered at the Marina Beach which is at the epicentre of the state-wide stir in which tens of thousands of people took part, appeared to be in no mood to relent. They demanded a permanent solution.
Panneerselvam said in other areas, ministers from the respective regions will inaugurate the sport at 11 am.
Jallikattu remained banned following a Supreme Court order in May 2014.
"I urge the youths, students and the general public to make the jallikattu events across Tamil Nadu a grand success by participating in large numbers," he said.
Panneerselvam said the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 by Tamil Nadu was received last night.
"The assent for the ordinance (amending the PCA Act) has been obtained from Govenor also," he said, adding, "our dream to conduct jallikattu this year has come true."
He said a draft Bill to replace the ordinance and amend the PCA Act paving the way for holding jallikattu without any hindrance will be introduced and adopted in the Tamil Nadu Assembly's session which begins on 23 January.
Panneerselvam thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support.
"On behalf of the Government and people of Tamil Nadu, I thank you for all your support and assistance in enabling Jallikattu to be held in Tamil Nadu once again during the Pongal season upholding the culture and tradition of the people of Tamil Nadu," he told Modi in a letter.
Recalling his earlier interaction with Prime Minister on January 19 to enable conduct of jallikattu, Panneerselvam said the Tamil Nadu Government issued an Ordinance after obtaining prior instructions of the President as envisaged under Article 213 of the Constitution.
"The Ordinance was promulgated today by the Government of Tamil Nadu and Jallikatu is to be conducted with customary fervour all over the State with all necessary safeguards."
Earlier in the day, Modi said all efforts are being made to fulfil the cultural aspirations of the people of Tamil Nadu.
"We are very proud of the rich culture of Tamil Nadu. All efforts are being made to fulfil the cultural aspirations of Tamil people," he tweeted.
Modi said the central government is fully committed to the progress of Tamil Nadu and will always work to ensure the state scales new avenues of progress.
Several people across the state welcomed the decision, saying jallikattu was part of Tamil culture and steps should be taken immediately to make it a permanent feature.
"We want an assurance from the central government that it would amend the PCA Act in the upcoming session of parliament if the supreme court quashes the ordinance sometime later," said Anbumani Ramadoss, who is Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) youth wing president and son of party president S Ramadoss.
Jallikattu supporters during the day staged rail blockade at Madurai even as train services continued to remain affected due to the ongoing stir.
The Southern Railway announced cancellation of some trains besides diversion of others.
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