Think of Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, before Jallikattu: ‘Visaaranai’ director

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) National Award-winning filmmaker Vetrimaaran on Monday came out in support of Jallikattu saying that before asking for a ban on the traditional and ancient bull-taming sport, people should think about banning crackers on Diwali and immersing lord Ganesh idols in water during Ganesh Chaturthi which disturbs the eco-system.

“The main reason why PETA and others want to put a ban on this traditional practice (Jallikattu) is that they say it’s cruelty to animals,” said Vetrimaaran.

Vetrimaaran was in the capital on Monday for author Kota Neelima’s art show ‘Remains of Ayodhya’.

“If this is the priority to stop this practice, then I think they are misinformed as every year because of India’s biggest festival, not just one breed called bulls, but every living creature is killed and lost… and that’s Diwali.

“If they are really concerned about the welfare of animals, then they should ban crackers. If they are really concerned about the eco-system, then they should know that every year so much of toxic material is dumped into the sea during Ganesh Chaturthi, so they should stop that,” he added.

Vetrimaaran went on to add that people are “just responding to what they see on some video clips, where someone is torturing the bulls”.

“If that happens, then that need to be stopped, I don’t deny that. But these are ethnic identities which go deeper into a person’s psyche and when that is threatened and denied, it puts in a lot of pressure on the whole community. It’s not about one act, it’s about the community,” he said.

“That’s why so many youngsters, who didn’t belong to any political party, gathering in Chennai and supported it… I feel this practice should continue,” he added.

In Jallikattu, a bull vaulter is expected to hang on to the bull’s hump for a stipulated distance or hold on to the hump for a minimum of three jumps made by the bull.

The Supreme Court in May 2014 banned the conduct of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The court also held that bulls cannot be used as performing animals either for Jallikattu events or for bullock cart races in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.

After that, people have been demanding that the central government should take necessary legal steps for the continued conduct of the popular sport.