- 4 people have have been gored to death in Jallikattu events so far
- E Palaniswami, O Panneerselvam attended event, offered gifts
- Cars, Singapore air tickets were given winners in Madurai
Two gleaming cars splashed with stickers of the ruling AIADMK and former chief minister J Jayalalithaa were displayed on a platform near the Jallikattu arena, which was crammed with scores of AIADMK leaders.
The cars will go to the "best bull-tamer" and the owner of the "most outstanding bull".
The AIADMK is making sure people know who is responsible for Jallikattu's return last year after a Supreme Court ban. "It was our EPS' (E Palaniswami's) efforts as Chief Minister last year that made it possible to host Jallikattu, and they are honouring our leader Jayalalithaa," said Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar.
After massive protests for days at Chennai's Marina Beach, the state government had come out with new rules to skirt the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu.
Around 1,000 bulls and 1,200 bull-tamers registered to participate in today's edition. The grand prizes for the bull tamers and owners include two-wheelers, refrigerators, LED television, gold coins, couches and utensils. Mr Udhayakumar, who handed out gold coins to the winners, said: "It's an honour to give gifts for this symbol of Tamil pride".
Animal rights activists allege cruelty continues in Jallikattu despite the state government's new rules. Bulls, they say, are made to wait for 15-20 hours without enough food or water, which stresses and traumatises them.
Bull-tamers, for the first time, took a no-cruelty pledge yesterday, but five tamers were still disqualified for clinging to the animal's horns, which is banned. Multiple tamers simultaneously pounced on bulls and pulled them by their tail, which is also banned by the Supreme Court.
"We are splitting the bull-tamers into groups of 100 and replace them every hour, so the bulls are not traumatised. We take every violation seriously and each invites disqualification. Veterinarians let only bulls that are fit and free from signs of cruelty and intoxication," said Collector Veera Raghava Rao.