Union Minister slams Congress for flaying Centre on jallikattu issue

Chennai: Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan on Wednesday hit out at Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi for criticising Centre on the bull taming sport 'jallikattu' issue and charged the Congress with trying to 'destroy' Tamil Nadu's cultural event.

"Those who had worked with the intention of destroying a Tamil cultural event are maligning (our) efforts to revive it," he told reporters in Chennai. Jallikattu was banned by the Environment Ministry in 2011 when UPA was in power at Centre, with the Supreme Court upholding that notification last year.

Singhvi had earlier tweeted: "Despite SC ban, Centre is trying to legalise jallikattu for political mileage in Tamil Nadu." Radhakrishnan, who expressed confidence that 'there will be a good news within two days,' on conducting jallikattu next month, also asked the TNCC President EVKS Elangovan to 'condemn' Singhvi.

Only such a condemnation would mean that Congress' state unit was genuine about conducting jallikattu, he said in an apparent reference to Elangovan's insistence that steps should be taken for holding the sport. If the TNCC did not condemn Singhvi, it would amount to 'betraying' Tamils, Radhakrishnan added. The chorus for holding jallikattu, banned by the Supreme Court, has been increasing with various political parties in the state including Congress upping the ante on the issue.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a recent letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested him to introduce a bill to amend laws for conducting the sport or promulgate an ordinance for the same. Meanwhile, organisers and fans at Avaniapuram village in Madurai district have started invoking local temple deities seeking their blessing to revive the traditional bull taming sport, held during the Pongal festival every year.

Perumal, a temple priest, said organisers had come to the Ayyanar temple with a bull and prayed for revival of the sport.

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