Madurai, Jan 17: Notwithstanding the Supreme Court's conditions to ensure the safety of spectators, while permitting the show, 19 people, most of them onlookers, were injured in the world-famous Jallikattu (Taming of Bulls) event held at Alanganallur village, near here, as part of Pongal festivities today.
State Special Branch (SB) Police sources said no casualty was reported. The injured were admitted to the Primary Health Centre (PHC) in the village. Later, five of them were shifted to the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) in Madurai city. However, unofficial sources quoting eye-witnesses, said at least 73 people were injured in the event. Nineteen of them were admitted to a hospital.
Meanwhile, four police personnel, including a Sub-Inspector of Police attached to the Koodalpudur Police Station were injured, when a group of people in an inebriated condition pelted stones at them, when they were regulating the crowd. Police used mild force to chase away the drunken people and regulate the surging crowd.
The ferocious bulls were let out one after another through the entrance for the show to begin. But they charged at everybody and everything that came in the way even as hundreds of agile youngsters attempted to tame them. In all, 302 specially reared bulls brought from Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Pudukkottai, Tiruchirapalli, Dindigul, Theni and Virudhunagar participated in the event. More than 10,000 spectators from various parts of Tamil Nadu congregated in the village to witness the event.
Though the bullfight is held in many other parts of the state as part of the harvest festival of Pongal, only Alanganallur has been able to attract international attention for several decades.
A very tight security ring was thrown around the arena for the popular spectator show as Supreme Court, laying down conditions, lifted the ban on conducting the event.
District Collector S S Jawahar personally monitored the event, while Senior Police officials, including Inspector General of Police (South Zone) Sanjeev Kumar supervised the security arrangements. As per the conditions laid down by the Apex Court, Animal Welfare Board officials were also present to witness the event. All the bulls were subjected to medical test by a team of veterinary doctors before the event began.
The participants were also subjected to thorough check by the police to ensure that they were not carrying any sharp weapons like knives. The district administration also issued tokens to the participants in the competition.
The event was also videographed as per another conditions laid down by the Apex Court and barricades were erected to ensure safety of the spectators.
Cash prizes, Jewellery and household articles were presented to the winners.