Fact Check

Rahul Gandhi Attending Jallikattu – Is This Some Private Joke He is Playing on the Tamil People?

According to news reports, Rahul Gandhi is slated to attend ‘Jallikattu’ at the famous Avaniyapuram arena near Madurai on Pongal day on January 14.

You may ask why would anybody have a problem with Rahul Gandhi attending any festivity or event? The problem lies in the way of Congress is playing with the sentiments of Tamil people and culture. It is the same Congress that paved the way for banning Jallikattu when the UPA government was at the Centre.

In the words of Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister for Environment under the UPA government, Jallikattu is a “barbaric” practice. This raises the question – why does Rahul Gandhi want to attend Jallikattu which has been termed ‘barbaric’ by his own party colleagues?

Action of UPA That Led to Banning of Jallikattu

In the year 2011, the Environment Ministry, under former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, had banned the use of bulls as performing animals. Other animals in Ramesh’s notification included bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions.

Then in May 2014, the Supreme Court upheld the ban saying, “Bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.”

Jairam Ramesh of Congress was quick in hailing the order, reflecting the spirit of the notification his Ministry had issued back in 2011.

In 2015, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote a letter in his capacity as the Rajya Sabha MP to the Managing Director of Humane Society International which campaigned against Jallikattu. He wrote: “The Human Society International/India affiliate has a worthy objective and certainly we have to discourage bullfights which provide a cruel form of entertainment. Wish you all success in achieving your objective.”

Fact - Modi Government Lifted the Ban on Jallikattu

Contrary to all the myths being perpetrated, the Modi government in 2016 amended the 2011 notification and allowed Jallikattu and bullock cart race with some conditions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been vocal in supporting Jallikattu and respecting Tamil tradition.

After running down the sentiments of people for years, Congress started to sing a different tune by 2017, saying that the “Centre should respect people’s sentiment”.

Now, you have Rahul Gandhi attending Jallikattu as the elections for the State assembly is approaching. Should this be labelled as another flip-flop? Or is this yet another example of Congress playing some kind of joke on the Tamil people?

You may like to read: Five Things PM Modi Did to Showcase Tamil Culture