Old man gored to death by jallikattu bull


Theni (Tamil Nadu) : An elderly man was gored to death by an angry bull during the traditional jallikattu bullfighting event in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district, reports said.

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Local reports gave contradictory accounts of the incident that happened at Kottur village, about 800 km south of state capital Chennai.

One report said the dead man, identified as 70-year-old village leader Muthu Ravuthar, was a spectator perched on a temporary stand and fell into the arena, drawing the wrath of an angry animal which gored him to death.

Another account said the angry bull strayed into the spectators’ area and gored the man.

The Supreme Court had Jan 12 banned the tradition of jallikattu, the taming of bull ritual, in Tamil Nadu, but later allowed it keeping public sentiment in mind.

It, however, asked the administration to be extra vigilant, photo-record all events, put up two layers of barricades to separate spectators from the animals and ensure emergency medical facilities.

Even as the authorities and media focussed on Alanganallur, the main hub of jallikattu in Madurai district, many similar events took place Thursday in other southern districts as people in this part of the country believe jallikattu is an auspicious ritual.

Soon after the bull gored Muthu to death, clashes broke out between his family members and supporters of another village leader despite heavy police deployment. Shops in the area shut down and tension prevailed in the community.

Local reports said Thursday’s events saw at least 78 others injured in various bullfights across the state.

Meanwhile, Coimbatore police have booked People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) chief Ingrid Newkirk for attempting to blindfold a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the city in protest against the apex court allowing jallikattu.

PETA legal affairs coordinator N.G. Jayasimha has also been booked for helping Newkirk.

The PETA activists have said they were only trying to draw attention to the fact that cruelty to animals and events like jallikattu should not happen in the land of Gandhi.