Bull dance performed under close surveillance in Salem | News from Coimbatore

SALEM: Amid tight police surveillance, the bull dance, an age-old ritual, part of the annual festival of neikkarapatatti village temple in Salem district was played on Thursday. The district administration had agreed to perform the bull dance without much fanfare after the Madras High Court was granted conditional clearance a few days ago, law enforcement sources said.
“As instructed by Madras High Court, Salem District Collector K Maharabushanam told the temple administration to conduct the festival in a simple manner with no more than 10 bulls participating,” said R Sakthivel, Superintendent of Salem District Police. By order of the District Collector, police personnel camped at the temple premises from Wednesday evening. The bull dance started around 3pm and ended around 5pm.
Villagers had turned violent and engaged in stone throwing when police tried to stop the bull dance during their village’s annual temple festival in Neikkarapatti on July 19, 2012. Police had to resort to charges of lathi and tear gas to quell the violence, leaving eight policemen including an inspector and some women injured. They were admitted to Salem Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College Hospital for further treatment. Traffic on the Salem-Coimbatore national highways also remained disrupted for nearly three hours that day when a group of disbelievers staged roadblocks to protest the denial of permission for the ritual.
P Sivanandham, a villager from Neikkarapatti has filed a lawsuit, asking for permission to perform ‘Bull Play’ or ‘Bull Dance’ at Arulmighu Vennankodi Muniyappan Temple. “We informed the court that the organizers of the bull dance will abide by the conditions of the supreme court to ensure the safety of the participating animals and the spectators. Moreover, the festival is not ‘Jallikattu’. That is entirely different” , said Sivanandham. Recording the engagement, Judge M Venugopal ordered the Salem District administration to process the May 8 request from the temple authorities within three days to enable them to hold the event on May 23. The organizers’ lawyer also informed the court that the temple authorities were ready. pay a deposit of Rs 2 lakh for the event.
The Supreme Court’s January 10, 2013 order stated that district collectors must ensure the safety of performing animals that must be handled in accordance with the law. Collectors must notify the event at least one month in advance so that the Animal Welfare Board of India can delegate its representatives to observe the event. Additionally, Rs 2 lakh has to be paid as a deposit for minor events and Rs 5 lakh for major events.
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