‘Jallikattu’: Bull Tamers, Spectators Gored to Death, Dozens Hurt in Tamil Nadu | A Roundup of This Season

Several districts in Tamil Nadu annually hold the traditional Jallikattu events as part of the Pongal festival celebrations. Jallikattu is mostly practised in Madurai, Trichy, and Pudukkottai, with smaller-scale competitions also taking place in Thanjavur, Ariyalur, and other Delta regions.

Three locations in Madurai — Alanganallur, Palamedu, and Avaniyapuram — organize Jallikattu every year with fervour and enthusiasm. Moreover, winners of Jallikattu receive a car, bike, gold, and silver, however, at the arena, there are fatalities and numerous injuries. This year, among the 280 bull tamers who took part in the Avaniyapuram Jallikattu on Sunday, over 60 were hurt, and about 20 had severe injuries, according to a senior official.

The Jallikattu events began in Avaniyapuram in Madurai on January 15 (the second day of the Pongal festival). A 24-year-old bull tamer who had captured nine bulls on the second-day events at Palamedu Jallikattu succumbed to his injuries in the hospital after being attacked by a bull. A total of 32 injuries related to the Palamedu Jallikattu were reported on January 16.

The final day of the Jallikattu event, which took place at Alanganallur in Madurai on January 17, reportedly resulted in 53 injuries, including two police personnel.

In the meantime, a 25-year-old spectator from Pudukkottai was gored by a bull during Periya Suriyur Jallikattu in Trichy district on January 16. The severely injured man died at the hospital during treatment, while 62 others were injured during the event.

Aavarankadu in Manapparai and Navalur Kuttapattu, both close to Trichy, are other locations for Jallikattu celebrations.

Similar to this, on January 8 during the Thachankurichi Jallikattu event in the Pudukkottai district, 70 people were hurt. On January 17, one spectator died at the Manjuvirattu (another form of Jallikattu) event held at K-Rayavaram in Pudukkottai. Sources said that a charging bull slammed 50-year-old Sivaganga resident Ganesan into the ground during the annual Manjuvirattu competition.

Another tragedy occurred when two people and two bulls travelling in a van were killed in a head-on collision with a state-run bus while they were returning from a Jallikattu event at Pudukkottai.

Also, 21 were reportedly hurt on January 18 during the Jallikattu event in Vadamalapur in Pudukkottai. Meanwhile, 10 people were hurt while watching Manjuvirattu in Moonjurpattu, close to Vellore, while one person was killed during the event in the Tiruvannamalai district. 

On the other hand, almost eleven were killed including children during the Uttarayan and Vasi Uttarayan (Second day) festival or the Makar Sankranti festival, after their necks were slit by kite strings (Manja) during the celebrations in Gujarat. Ahmedabad city has reported the maximum number of 59 cases of manja injuries.

Additionally, more than 50 people fell from rooftops while flying kites. Along with this, more than 130 people have received injuries through the glass-coated string (Manja).

During the two-day festival (January 14 & 15), many unfortunate incidents have been reported in Gujarat, with 1,281 accidents reported. Two deaths were reported in Vadodara, two in Rajkot, two in Kamrej (Surat), one in Vijayanagar, one in Visnagar, one in Jamnagar, one in Kalol and one in Bhavnagar. As many as 108 were injured due to kite string, and 34 injuries during kite flying were reported.

On the day of Uttarayan, 1,657 incidents have taken place. Till the evening of Vasi Uttarayan, 817 emergency cases were reported. Prominent cities like Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot recorded the maximum number of emergencies and Ahmedabad witnessed a maximum of 91 cases.

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