Madurai, Jan 15: Police on Sunday foiled attempts to conduct Jallikattu in southern districts of Tamil Nadu, detaining several people even as 'Mattu Pongal', third day of the harvest festivities, was celebrated with fervour in the state.
Amid protests against the ban on the bull-taming sport, police warned of action against those violating the Supreme Court order on the sport, associated with Pongal festivities. Madurai Superintendent of Police, Vijayendar S Bidari, denied reports that Jallikattu was conducted in the district.
"Around 2,000 police personnel are keeping a vigil across the district. We have taken steps to provide security in the area," he said. Sufficient police force has been deployed in the district to prevent any untoward incidents, he said. Every one should follow the (SC) order. Everybody should be aware that we will take action as per the law. People should cooperate," he said when it was pointed out that the sport is usually held on 'Kanum Pongal', the fourth and final day of Pongal festivities, at Alanganallur.
Some locals claimed that at Singampunari in Sivaganga district hundreds of people gathered for "Manjuvirattu" (an event in which bulls are used) which, they said, was held for a brief period. Police said they chased away a crowd which tried to organise Jallikattu at Alangudi in Pudukottai district, and also foiled a bid to conduct it at the Sri Thadikonda Swamy temple.
Meanwhile, people offered prayers to bulls and cows on the occasion of "Mattu Pongal", third day of Pongal festivities where people offer prayers to these and other farm animals. Cows and bulls were washed by their owners. Some of them had their horns painted and decorated with shining caps besides coloured beads and tinkling bells while others had sheaves of corn and flower garlands tied around their necks.
In Madurai district's Palamedu village, a place famous for Jallikattu events, people performed special poojas to some temple bulls. Jallikattu supporters were seen offering pongal (sweet rice made of jaggery with rice and milk, in a traditional mud pot) to the local deity before giving it to the bulls.
Local youths said 'symbolic' Jallikattu was held in some places but police denied it. At Palamedu, people hoisted black flags for not allowing them to hold Jallikattu. Shops at several localities remained closed. Police said youths were detained at Mudakathan, Alanganallur, Palamedu and Vilangudi in Madurai district, at Nallampatti in Dindigul district and Pottuchavadi in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu for trying to hold the sport defying the apex court ban.