‘Jallikattu’ stir spreads to Lanka, UK and Australia

London/Colombo:  Protests demanding lifting of the ban on bull-taming sport ‘jallikattu’ have spread to beyond India with the Tamil Diaspora in Sri Lanka, Britain and Australia holding demonstrations.

Hundreds of UK-based Indian Tamils have come together to organize a series of protests in favor of Jallikattu this week in London and across the UK.

The protest group includes London Tamil Sangam, World Tamil Organization and British South Indians. They held protests outside the Indian High Commission in London on January 17 and 18.

Protests are also planned in the city of Leeds in England and Dublin in Ireland.

“Hundreds have been turning out to highlight that Jallikattu is part of our tradition and identity. We are also working on a major hunger-strike this weekend to raise awareness around the issue in the UK. We are expecting over 1,000 people to join that protest,” a spokesperson for the protest group told PTI.

The protesters have been carrying placards and chanting slogans in Tamil like, ‘We need Jallikattu’ and ‘Jallikattu is our identity’.

The group has also prepared a petition for the Indian High Commission, which reads, “We, Indians living in the UK, have consistently shown our support to the conduct of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, protest was held in the Tamil minority dominated northern capital of Jaffna, on January 18.

Hundreds of people held placards saying ‘Why ban it when it is our culture’ and  ‘This is a valued tradition lets permit it’.

Australian Tamil community has also joined the ongoing protest against the ban on Jallikattu by holding peaceful demonstrations in Melbourne and Sydney.

“Jallikattu is an ancient and traditional Tamil sport. The (ancient) seals of the Indus Valley civilization depict it, which is proof that this sport was in vogue more than five, six thousand years ago — why ban it now? It is like taking away a part of our lifestyle,” a protester Thiru Arumugam was quoted as saying by media reports in Sydney.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 19 virtually indicated his government’s inability to promulgate an ordinance on allowing Jallikattu noting that the matter is sub-judice as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam met him here seeking Center’s intervention.

“While appreciating the cultural significance of Jallikattu, the Prime Minister observed that the matter is at present sub-judice,” the PMO said after the meeting.

At the same time, it said, “The Centre would be supportive of the steps taken by the state government.”

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