Two men were killed at the bull-taming festival Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu's Pudukottai district on Sunday. A Ram and Sathish Kumar, both 35, were gored by bulls while watching the sport and died of injuries.
"This tragedy happened beyond the collection point, where owners take the bulls back after they have completed in the barricaded arena," a senior police officer told NDTV.
Chief Minister E Palanaswami, who flagged off the event at Viralimalai, said, "We've followed all safety norms as per the Supreme Court directions. For the first time, spectators too have been insured besides bull-tamers."
However, safety experts say spectators should be allowed only along the arena into which bulls are let out to be tamed, but not at the end of the arena where they are secured by their owners.
"Actually, a mini Jallikattu takes place beyond the collection point as only around 30 per cent of the bulls are secured there," said Shivam Ramamoorthi, a Jallikattu enthusiast. "It's a struggle for bull owners to catch the animals that escape, endangering villagers and spectators who move around."
He suggested another round of safety measures for spectators and owners. "A system like use of nets to stop bulls or any other mechanism should be put in place."
In 2014, the Supreme Court banned Jallikattu citing cruelty to bulls and safety issues for spectators. Some 200 people have died in these events over the last two decades.
However, the Tamil Nadu government in 2017 paved the way for lifting the ban by adopting an ordinance following massive protests.
Bull tamers get a range of prizes from electronic gadgets to motorcycles to cars.
Animal rights activists continue to campaign for a ban on Jallikattu citing cruelty, torture and trauma to bulls. Over 40 people were injured in the Jallikattu at Alanganallur. A spectator also died of a heart attack.
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