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Dispute again over Avaniyapuram Jallikattu

The claim for bragging rights have reached such heights that there appears no compromise in sight.

MADURAI: With a fortnight left for Pongal festival, two local groups have locked horns over the conduct of the traditional sport of Jallikattu in Avaniyapuram, Madurai.

The claim for bragging rights have reached such heights that there appears no compromise in sight. P Pitchairajan, member of Avaniyapuram Anaithu Samuthaya Grama Pothu Jallikattu, said the traditional sport links all people together and the organising committee should ensure equal opportunities all local people irrespective of caste, religion and politics.

“Our principal aim is to organise Jallikattu at Avaniyapuram in a collective manner with active participation of all as how it has been done earlier,” he said.

“Unlike Palamedu and Alanganallur, which became iconic sporting venues in Madurai district, Jallikattu in Avaniyapuram is special. The venue hosts the first event of the season in Tamil Nadu on January 14 and is organised under the banner of ‘Thenkal Kanmai Pasana Vivasayikal Sangham’. Avaniyapuram has its own tradition and it should not lose its pride in hosting the event, he added.

AK Kannan, president, Thenkal Kanmai Pasana Vivasayikal matrum Prathana Jallikattu Nala Sangham, Avaniyapuram, said this sangham is formally registered and has existed for over 25 years now.

Taking pride, he said the Sangham is the only body to have fought a legal battle against PETA in 2006 and won back the rights of the sport, enduring hard physical labour and difficult conditions. Refuting claims, Kannan said the Sangham did not give away the organising rights to any other venue except Avaniyapuram, where the village is known for the sport.

Last year, a fee of Rs 5.5 lakh was paid on behalf of the Sangham to the legal fraternity, who supervised the conduct of sport as per High Court’s directive.

He also e challenged the other group to organise the sport in other villages surrounding Avaniyapuram, if they had a genuine zeal for the sport.

The event has been organised at Avaniyapuram as per instructions of the High Court from 2019. Sources revealed that despite compromise talks the final call is yet to be made.

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