Singapore Police Force (SPF) has announced that it is investigating 30 subjects, aged between 21 to 56, for their suspected involvement in a public assembly without a police permit at Sembawang Park.
The Police stated that on 21 January 2017 at about 6.50pm, the group, comprising males and females, gathered at Sembawang Park. Some of them were holding placards.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the subjects were there to show their support for “Jallikattu” and the ongoing protest in India against its ban.
The Police said that it would like to remind the public that organising or participating in a public assembly without a police permit is illegal in Singapore.
“Foreigners visiting or living in Singapore have to abide by our laws. They should not import the politics of their own countries into Singapore. Those who break the law will be dealt with firmly, and this may include the termination of visas or work passes, where applicable,” it wrote.
According to Wikipedia, Jallikattu (or Sallikkattu), also known as eru thazhuvuthal and manju virattu, is a traditional sport in which a Bos indicus bull, commonly of the Kangayam breed, is released into a crowd of people.
Multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump of the bull with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape. Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove flags on the bull’s horns.
Jallikattu is typically practiced in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day.
The Animal Welfare Board of India filed a case in the Supreme Court of India for an outright ban on Jallikattu because of the cruelty to animals and the threat to public safety involved.
On 27 November 2010, the Supreme Court permitted the Government of Tamil Nadu to allow Jallikattu for five months in a year and directed the District Collectors to make sure that the animals that participate in Jallikattu are registered to the Animal Welfare Board and in return the Board would send its representative to monitor the event.
The Government of Tamil Nadu ordered that ₹2 lakh (US$3,000) be deposited by the organizers in case of an accident or injury during the event and enacted a rule to allow a team of veterinarians be present at the venue for certifying the bulls for participation in the event and to provide treatment for bulls that get injured.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a notification in 2011 that banned the use of bulls as performing animals, thereby banning the event. But the practice continued to be held under Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act No 27 of 2009.
On 7 May 2014, the Supreme Court of India struck down the state law and banned Jallikattu altogether. The Supreme Court noted that any flouting of the ban should result in penalties for cruelty to animals under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
The court also asked the Government of India to amend the law on preventing cruelty to animals to bring bulls within its ambit. The Supreme Court also ruled that cruelty is inherent in these events, as bulls are not anatomically suited for such activities and making them participate is subjecting them to unnecessary pain and suffering, so such events were outlawed.
In May 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned the practice, citing animal welfare concerns. On 8 January 2016, the Government of India passed an order exempting Jallikattu from all performances where bulls can not be used, effectively reversing the ban. However, on 14 January 2016, the Supreme Court of India upheld its ban on the event, leading to protests all over Tamil Nadu.
On 8 January 2016, the Ministry of Environment and Forests permitted the continuation of the tradition under certain conditions, effectively ending the ban; however, this was overturned by the Supreme Court on 26 July.
On 16 January 2016, the World Youth Organization (WYO) protested at Chennai against the stay on ban on conducting Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The WYO also demanded a ban on PETA in India.
On 8 January 2017, some anonymous groups conducted a rally at Chennai Marina opposing the ban on Jallikattu. The participants walked from the lighthouse to the labour statue bearing posters saying ‘save Jallikattu’.
It is reported that there were hundreds of participants in the rally. A few churches openly conducted prayer mass and rally against the Supreme Court ruling. Following the protests at Chennai, many students started rallies in various towns of Tamil Nadu.
After hearing the petitions which were led by the Animal Welfare Board of India challenging central government’s notification, the Supreme Court of India on 12 January ordered a stay, issued notices to the central government and the government of Tamil Nadu and later refused to lift the stay.
Numerous Jallikattu events were held across Tamil Nadu in protest of the ban, and hundreds of participants were detained by police in response.
The Supreme Court has agreed to delay its verdict on Jallikattu for a week following the Centre’s request that doing so would avoid unrest.
The Attorney General Mukul Rahotgi informed the Supreme Court bench that the people of Tamil Nadu were “passionate” about Jallikattu and that the issue was being resolved between the Centre and the State government.
The ban was revoked on 21 January 2017, and the first Jallikattu game post the revoking will be conducted in Alanganallur, Madurai on 22 January 2017, inaugurated by Paneerselvam.