30 being investigated for public assembly in Sembawang Park in support of Jallikattu

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The Police are investigating 30 people, aged between 21 to 56, for protesting in public without a permit. The group had gathered at Sembawang Park on yesterday (21 Jan), with some holding placards. The Police said that their preliminary investigations revealed that they were there to show their support for India’s Jallikattu protests.

This publication reported on 19 Jan that the following message urging the Tamils in Singapore to assemble in Sembawang Park to express their displeasure with the Jallikattu ban in India is being virulently shared in social media.
It is unclear who the organiser of the event is, but the Singapore Police responded that foreigners working or living in Singapore have to abide by local laws and that they would take firm actions against anyone flouting such laws.

(Read also: http://www.theindependent.sg/5000-protest-indias-jallikattu-ban-in-singapore)

Jallikattu is a socially explosive issue which has divided Tamil Nadu from the rest of India. The people of Tamil Nadu are upset that the Supreme Court of India has revoked an exemption to the Jallikattu practice just before the 2016 Pongal festival and have taken to the streets to challenge the ban.

During Jallikattu, bulls are released from pens, with participants challenged to hold on to the animal’s hump for as long as possible in an attempt to bring the bucking animal to a halt. In Tamil Nadu, bulls are bred specifically for this event. The untameable bulls from the event are deemed to have better genes and are used especially for breeding, while the tamed ones are used for domestic activities and agriculture.

In 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned Jallikattu after the Animal Welfare Board of India citing extensive evidence of torture and cruelty to the animals petitioned it. The reinstatement of the ban just before Pongal effectively reinforced the earlier Court ruling, leading to protests all over Tamil Nadu.

Political analysts from India have said that the anger expressed at the ban by the people of Tamil Nadu was reminiscent of the anti-central-government sentiments in the late 1960s after Hindi was made the official language of the country.

With the political parties from Tamil Nadu supporting pro-Jallikattu groups, the protests have intensified over the past few days, posing a big challenge for Narendra Modi’s Central government of India. Modi finally relented and Jallikattu returned in Tamil Nadu today after the Indian Government promulgated an ordinance in the face of massive protests which paralysed Tamil Nadu for about five days.