New Delhi: Days after Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s approval for a state government ordinance that circumvents a Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu, a traditional bull-taming sport, communities across the country are demanding legal cover for their own traditional outlawed celebrations.
Kambala refers to the sport of racing pairs of buffaloes across slushy paddy fields. The Karnataka high court had stayed the practice in November last year on a petition by People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights advocacy group.
Inspired by the people’s protest in neighbouring TN, members of the Kambala organising committee say they will stage the race on January 28. Supporters have also questioned the alacrity with which the Centre acted on the Jallikattu ordinance.
“Kambala is a tradition of Karnataka. The Centre must show the same concern for Karnataka and intervene,” said Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj.
Kodipandem cockfights in AP
Kodipandem is a three-day festival in coastal Andhra Pradesh in which roosters, with sharp blades attached to their feet, fight to their death before a cheering crowd.
The practice has been banned by the state high court, but continues. This year, the Andhra police filed more than 1,500 cases of illegal cockfights.
BJP leader KR Krishnam Raju has moved the Supreme Court to contest the ban, filing caveat petition to pre-empt challenging of the ordinance on Jallikattu. “We have impleaded in the Jallikattu case, requesting that the ordinance be applicable even to cockfights,” he said.
Punjab’s rural Olympics
The Jallikattu ordinance has prompted the organisers of the Kila Raipur Games, also called Rural Olympics, to move the Supreme Court to revisit its 2014 order that banned the popular bullock cart races.
“There was substantial drop in the spectators’ count after the ban on bullock cart races in 2014,” said Balwinder Singh Jagga, secretary of the organising body, Grewal Sports Association.
Former race participants insisted that concerns over the safety of racing bulls were misplaced. “We feed 300 grams of ghee, channa, taramira and milk every day throughout the year and treat bulls as our kids,” said Sukhdev Singh.
In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena chances its arm
Maharashtra’s bullock cart races were banned in 2014 as well, but the Jallikattu ordinance has given the Shiv Sena a chance to embarrass the ruling BJP ahead of crucial zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections in February.
“Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should talk to PM Modi and make efforts for bringing the ordinance to circumvent the ban,” said Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil.
Sena leaders said they plan to take their protests to every part of the state.
Pitch for bulbul bird fight in Assam
Siva Prasad Sarma, chief priest of Hayagrib-Madhab temple in Hajo where the annual bulbul (songbird) fight is organised during the mid-January Magh Bihu said that like Jallikattu, bulbuli sorair jooj (bulbul fight) is part of our cultural heritage.
“We have not conducted the fight since January 2016 to honour the restriction that the court has put on it, but no one has the right to interfere with our tradition. We hope the Assam government will take up the issue of lifting the ban on bulbul bird fight.”
Animal rights activists oppose the “sport” because the birds are trapped, fed a combination of herbs and intoxicants to fight aggressively. Hajo is about 30 km west of Guwahati.
(With inputs from Vikram Gopal in Bengaluru, Srinivasa Rao Apparasu in Hyderabad, Sumeer Singh in Ludhiana, Yogesh Joshi in Pune and Rahul Karmakar in Guwahati)