Two spectators were killed in a jallikattu (bull taming sport) event in Viralimalai in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukottai district on Sunday, even as the event made to Guinness records for the highest number of bulls to have taken part in it — 1,353.
Ramu (35), a resident of Soriyampatti in Trichy district, and Sathish Kumar (28), from Jeeyapuram in Trichy, were attacked by a bull that crossed into the spectators’ section.
While Ramu died on the spot, Sathish was declared dead in Manapparai GH, Pudukkottai district police said.
At least 31 bull tamers were also injured in the incident.
As many as 90 doctors and 90 medical staff were deployed at Viralimalai Jallikkattu. A special operation theatre was also set up near the event venue for treating the injured.
Since Viralimalai is the home town of Tamil Nadu health minister C Vijaya Bhaskar, he had made the arrangements for the event.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam had flagged off the event.
Palaniswami had said that after Alanganallur, Avaniyapuram and Palamedu Jallikkattu events, “Viralimalai Jallikkattu will have a remarkable place in Jallikkattu history”.
According to the Viralimalai Jallikattu committee, they had expected 2,000 bulls for the event.
“Due to time deficiency and medical complications, we allowed just 1,353 bulls and 800 tamers. Bulls from Madurai, Pudukkottai, Trichy, Thanjavur, Coimbatore, and Sivaganga districts have taken part in this event held between 8 am and 4 pm on Sunday,” the organisers told media.
The event made a Guinness record by beating the earlier record of 647 bulls’ participation in Madurai Jallikkattu.
Jallikkattu, a traditional bull taming sport in the state, is conducted during the Pongal festival. However, the sport had faced a ban after protests by the Animal Welfare Board of India and animal rights organisation Peta.
However, following widespread protests in the state in 2016, the Tamil Nadu government passed an ordinance, which, with Centre’s approval, allowed it to resume since 2017.