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Pongal celebrated at Thiruvanmiyur beach amidst tight security

To ensure the safety of the large gathering on the final day, extensive preparations were undertaken

Pongal celebrated at Thiruvanmiyur beach amidst tight security

Chennai's Thiruvanmiyur Beach (Photo: ANI)

CHENNAI: In the festive spirit of Pongal, a surge of people flocked to Chennai's Thiruvanmiyur Beach on Tuesday to partake in the Pongal celebration. According to the police official, families, complete with children, joyfully engaged in beach activities while anticipating the final day of the Pongal festival, Kaanum Pongal, which is going to take place today.

To ensure the safety of the large gathering on the final day, extensive preparations were undertaken. "150 policemen were strategically deployed along the beach. A precautionary measure disallowed anyone from entering the sea. Tomorrow Kaanum Pongal is going to be celebrated and it is the last of the Pongal festival, due to it all three beaches of Chennai will be packed with a large number of people and tourists" the police official told ANI. "Long lines of wooden sticks were strategically placed along the beach shore, restricting access, and surveillance was heightened with the deployment of CCTV cameras and observation towers," he added.

Expressing joy, Janani, a festival attendee, lauded the police efforts in ensuring safety. She remarked, "This Pongal has gone so well, and the police not allowing people onto the beach is commendable; they are prioritising people's safety." Kousalya, another festival attendee, enjoying family time after a hiatus caused by COVID and heavy rainfall, appreciated the police deployment for protection.

"We feel really happy today, and the police have taken a good initiative by not allowing people to enter the beach water. It's a welcome step for the welfare of the people," she said.

Meanwhile, the Jallikattu competition commenced at Periya Suriyur Village in Tamil Nadu's Tiruchirappalli district on Tuesday. Jallikattu is a bullfight that traces its history to around 2,000 years when the fight was conducted to select the most suitable bridegroom.

Seven hundred bulls and 350 tamers are participating in the Suriyur Village Jallikattu competition. More than 600 police personnel are deployed for security at the event, said authorities. Jallikattu is an age-old event celebrated mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu as part of Pongal celebrations.

In the sport, a bull is released into a crowd of people and participants in the event try to grab the large hump on the bull's back, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. Due to the risk of injury, both to the participants and the bull, the animal rights organisations called for a ban on the sport.

However, after long protests by the people against the ban, the Supreme Court, in May 2023, upheld the Tamil Nadu government's law allowing the bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu' in the state.

A five-judge Constitution bench of Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra governments' laws allowing the bull-taming sport 'Jallikattu' and bullock cart races.

The Tamil Nadu government had defended the event of "Jallikattu" and told the apex court that sporting events can also be cultural events and there is no cruelty on the bulls in "Jallikattu."

Jallikattu, also known as sallikkattu, is celebrated on the third day of Pongal, Mattu Pongal Day. The history of this bullfight dates back to 400-100 BCE, when it was played by the Ayars, an ethnic group in India. The name is coined from two words: jalli (silver and gold coins) and kattu (tied).

The fourth day of Pongal is called Kaanum Pongal, which is going to take place today. On this day, importance is given to the community and strengthening ties. Families gather together to have a sumptuous meal. Younger members seek the blessings of the older members of their families. It is also a day for traditional Indian folk dances such as Mayilattam and Kolattam.

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