Ban lifted on 'jallikattu' events to end mass protests in Tamil Nadu

NEW DELHI:  Lawmakers in Tamil Nadu passed an emergency order on Monday allowing "jallikattu" festivals to resume after a court ban on the traditional events led to mass protests.

Hours before the state government lifted the ban, police firing tear gas clashed with stone-throwing protesters who were demanding the resumption of jallikattu bullfights, in which men wrestle with rampaging bulls.

At least 100 protesters were arrested and 22 police officials were hurt.

"Jallikattu will be celebrated. We urge the protesters to go back home immediately," said senior police officer PK Kannan in Chennai, Tamil Nadu's capital.

Thousands of people had taken part in a week of protests, which also hit the state's auto industry.

A spokesman for Ford India, which has a manufacturing unit near Chennai, said the company had called off its second shift due to employee safety concerns. Ashok Leyland, a tractor and truck-maker which has a corporate office in Chennai, also closed down work early on Monday.

Animal rights activists say the tradition is cruel and have urged the government to keep the ban in place. Many in Tamil Nadu say it forms an important part of the Pongal harvest festival, which some Hindus celebrate after the winter solstice.

Hundreds of bulls are injured annually because participants twist their tails, beat them and even stab them with knives to control the animals.

More than 1,200 spectators have been injured at such events between 2010 and 2014, according to animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.