Does Indian government see Jallikattu unpatriotic, anti-national, anti-Indian?

By Abdul Ruff

Demonetization seems to have cost the ruling BJP government led by PM Modi credibility and peace of mind, at least, though it has lost its patriotic face too as the government, unable reveal the facts and figures about black money, is not trusted by the people.

Many believe that North India is nurtures hatred towards South Indians for being “intelligent” and therefore the central government in New Delhi is simply opposing the jallikattu in Tamil Nadu meant essentially to tame and over power the charged bulls- being observed as part of Pongal festival to showcase their bravery.

One is not sure if central government feels inferior to Tamil Nadu’s bravery sport is not clear as yet.

Media projected the Jallikattu as a dangerous sport, killing both animals and humans and many sought the ban on jallikattu sport. Court supported that and banned jallikattu. But the youth in Tamil Nadu last month got the ban revoked by the state assembly and endorsed by the central government and the president signed the Jallikattu into law.

Hindutva RSS and BJP thrive in the so-called secular India mainly on anti-Muslim plank and their claims of being patriotic sections of the nation. The decide what is patriotism and what is not. However, when assumed power in a few states and at the centre, many of these patriots amassed huge wealth and became engaged in anti-national mining operations to mint wealth. BJP in Karnataka is the case in point where the Reddy bothers have control over mining operations with BJP government backing.

Right wing Hindutva government led by Narendra Modi, former Gujarat chief minister during whose tenure Muslims were murdered in the state street by street, and he became the most important asset for Indian Hindutva forces and RSS.

When Jallikattu, the bull sport as part of Pongal festival called Bull Pongal, was banned by the Supreme court on the suits by anti-Jallikattu people who consider it as an animal torture cum human murder festival, the Hindutva forces in the country also stood up against jallikattu and sought to ban. When the protestors did not end the agitation on 23 January on Marina beech – the venue of Republic Day parade to be held on Jan 26 – as speculated by the federal government after the Tamil Nadu assembly passed a Bill to legalize jallikattu, obviously BJP and the Modi government became restless and what happened in Chennai on January 24 early morning t 5 am onwards as police came heavily on the protesters to remove them from the beach- is now a part of Tamil Nadu history.

While earlier, jallikattu was criticized as being anti-national sport and Tamils who celebrated that as being anti-patriotic, now those protesters who sought the law by central government to make Supreme Court are criticized s being anti-patriotic, because they did not trust what the central government tells them. Since they refused to vacate the beach for the republic day parade only to showcase the military might of the nation- and not the well being of the people- the BJP government just like the preceding Congress government, is promoting and protecting the rich and corporate lords.

On January 23, protesters had fought pitched battles with police, mainly around Marina Beach from where thousands were evicted, and blocked roads at various parts of city as the week-long agitation took a violent turn that day.

The sudden and abrupt police action in Chennai Marina beech on January 23, targeting the agitating for the reintroduction of their favorite Jallikattu sport as part of Pongal festival has generated a Pandora box of suspicions on the part of Tamil Nadu government, police and federal government controlled now by Hindutva nationalist party BJP.

The police attack on Tamil youth took place one day after TN assembly passed the Jallikattu Bill, revoking the court order banning it once for by citing lack of Constitutional clearance. The allegation is the Jallikattu leaves animals tortured, inured, so are the people also get injured and even get killed in the crowd.

Many youths were beaten up, driven out of the Marina beech in ore rot clear the site for Republic day parade.

The Governor who generally takes the Republic day salute from the parade at marina beach did not do that and, instead of him, the TN chief minister Pannerselvam did that. Did Governor Rao excused himself from performing the duty of the Head of the state or the Modi government asked him to keep himself off the function on Marina Beech and asked CM Pannerselvam to perform the gubernatorial duties? Governor Rao who is also governor of Maharashtra state just took care of Republic Day function in Mumbai.

There are a few issues to be considered here. The federal government may not be happy that the youth in Tamil Nadu won the jallikattu battle. The state clearance for the jallikattu is 100% victory for the Tamil youth and already some other states, like Karnataka and Maharashtra have also demanded their favorite animal sports also be restored. Indian government acceded to clear the jallikattu with legal protection is seen as belated response. The Tamil youth has achieved the feat when TN government could not do that several years since the Court banned it. The TN government had no other alternative but to support the agitation and central government fearing losing its face in Tamil nadu also eventually supported it. Governments did not behave like parents.

The government anger is visible. Central government as well as TN government is eager to end the “youth revolution” in the country by resorting to attack on the youth in Chennai and other places. Students have been terrorized to warn them of police action if they continue the movement or go for any such agitational methods in future.

India faces acute problems of employment and education if Indian youth agitates fro all these issue, Indian politicians would be on the run, That Tamil youth succeeded in forcing the governments to pass the Jallikattu bill and consider a law to allow Jallikattu and police warning to the youth not to come to Marina beech for agitations clearly shows that the government is panicky. Demonetization has weakened the BJP party and government.

Though the young agitators were attacked by the state machinery, they have won the agitation.

Meanwhile, raising the pitch for lifting the ban on annual buffalo race “Kambala” in Karnataka, thousands of people on Saturday January 28 staged a massive rally in Dakshina Kannada district here in support of the traditional sport, even as protests on the issue intensified. Amid tight security, Kambala supporters marched in a nearly four-km long procession from Swaraj Maidan with 200 bullocks and ended their protest against the ban at Kadalakere Nisargadhama Kambala Track.

Kambala was part of agriculture and an 800-year-old tradition which is indivisible component of our lives, the supporters said, emphasizing that they treated the buffaloes as their own children and no violence was involved unlike in Jallikattu, where deaths and injuries to many occur. Kambala does not cause any cruelty to the participating animals, in recent times, not a single death has taken place due to the folk sport. The matter is before the Karnataka High Court and it will hear the case on January 31.

The annual sport, held from November to March, involves a pair of buffaloes tied to the plough and anchored by one person. They are made to run in parallel muddy tracks in a competition in which the fastest team wins. Kambala is believed to be held to propitiate the Gods for a good harvest, besides being a recreational sport for farmers.

The protesters holding placards and shouting slogans demanded an ordinance, as was done in the case of Jallikattu (bull taming sport) in Tamil Nadu, to permit holding of the folk sport which is part of the tradition of the coastal Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. The protest was called by various committees associated with the organisation of the sport, including the District Kambala Samiti, Sampradaya Kambala Samiti, Kambala Academy and Moodbidri Koti-Chennaya Jodukare Kambala Samiti.

A symbolic Kambala was planned earlier as part of the protest, but was given up after persuasion by district authorities against violating the law. The matter is before the Karnataka High Court at present and it will hear the case on January 31. They demanded an ordinance, as was done in the case of Jallikattu to permit holding of the folk sport.

Amid growing protests for lifting the ban on buffalo race Kambala, Karnataka Cabinet today decided to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to pave the way for the traditional sport in the coastal region. “The cabinet has decided to move a draft bill in the legislature session scheduled from February 6 to February 10. It will allow Kambala and bullock cart racing, which will be enabled by amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and therefore considered a normal traditional sport,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters. The bullock cart races are held in North Karnataka and Kambala in the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. The amendment will exempt Kambala and bullock cart racing from the clutches of the laws under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. In Moodabidri, amid tight security, Kambala supporters marched in a nearly four-km long procession from Swaraj Maidan with 200 bullocks and ended their protest against the ban at Kadalakere Nisargadhama Kambala Track.

The High Court in an interim order in November 2016, had stayed holding of Kambala on a petition by PETA challenging it in view of orders passed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu.
Kambala committees have filed an interim application, seeking vacation of the stay.

Meanwhile, a PETA statement said agitators in Karnataka have taken a leaf out of the pro-Jallikattu protesters’ book and begun to falsely label PETA India as “foreign” and were now calling for banning the organisation. Poorva Joshipura, PETA India CEO, said calling for a ban on PETA India would also be akin to calling for a ban on a child protection organisation which saves children from illegal trafficking. “We should all be concerned that such an action is being called for”.

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Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff is an independent analyst; columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics; expert on Mideast affairs, chronicler of foreign occupations & freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.); Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); commentator on world affairs & sport fixings, former university teacher and author of eBooks/books

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