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Avaniyapuram residents block traffic as jallikattu row intensifies
A group of people resorted to road block near Periyar statue at Avaniyapuram here on Monday, demanding inclusion of people from all castes to represent a committee for organising jallikattu, a rural sport of bull-taming, which is otherwise known as ‘eru thazhuvathal’ and ‘manju virattu’.
The much-awaited jallikattu, the annual event, is scheduled on the occasion of ‘Thai Pongal’ on January 15. Vehicular traffic was disrupted for a few minutes before many of them were arrested,sources said.
T. Balachandran of Avaniyapuram, who took part in the agitation, said except last year, jallikattu was organised by a caste dominant group at Avaniyapuram under the banner of ‘Thenkal Pasana Vivasayigal Sangam’ and he felt that the community of Devendra Kula Vellalar had been discriminated by the sangam. Further, he alleged that the bull-taming sport was organised by the sangam not for any pride, but to draw foreign funds. Moreover, he expressed displeasure over the conduct of jallikattu under monitoring by the court at Avaniyapuram last year, as it lacked its lustre and shine. Since the local committee was restricted from organising jallikattu last year, bulls and tamers, who excelled in the sport, were not provided with attractive prizes. It would certainly discourage participants in the sport, he said.
However, AK. Kannan, president, Avaniyapuram Jallikattu Committee and Thenkal Pasana Vivasayigal Sangam, said preparations are underway to organise jallikattu as per schedule based on an order issued by Madurai Collector TG. Vinay.
As per the order dated January 3, 2020, it was directed to form a committee, including members of all castes to conduct jallikattu. Based on this, a total of 16 members of various castes had been chosen and included in the committee, which comprises president, secretaryand treasurer.
Ahead of the Collector’s order, three rounds of talks involving two groups were convened by Revenue officials to ensure smooth conduct of jallikattu at Avaniyapuram, which comes first in Madurai, and Palamedu and Alanganallurstand next.
However, talks failed to reach any consensus. Further, Kannan said those blocked road in the agitation were no way related to jallikattu. Under the cloak of respect, some of those agitating people wanted to become members in the committee only to get bull permit tokens with intent to sell it out at Rs 1,500 each, he said.
During last year, the jallikattu at Avaniyapuram was organised as per the directive of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, which constituted a committee comprising a retired judge, who led, and three advocates,sources said.