Notice on bird fights ignored | india | Hindustan Times
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Notice on bird fights ignored

Sticklers to tradition defied an Assam forest department notice to organize wild songbird fights near here on Wednesday.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2009 23:21 IST
Rahul Karmakar

Sticklers to tradition defied an Assam forest department notice to organize wild songbird fights near here on Wednesday.

The birds, trapped and trained for close to a month, were fed ganja and other intoxicants to make them outfight each other.

Bulbul bird fights are organized every Magh or Bhogali Bihu in the Hayagrib-Madhav Temple complex at Hajo, some 35 km from
the state capital. The forest department had a month back issued a notice restricting capture of these birds for the ritualistic fights.

“Trapping bulbuls is against the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act," principal chief conservator of forests Mohan C Malakar told HT. “We asked local forest officials to take necessary action while fight organizers were told to avoid using captured birds.”

Nevertheless, close to 300 bulbuls fought it out on Wednesday, each on a leash and egged on by a piece of banana as award for every peck. The birds' plumes were also trimmed.

Animal rights activists had stepped in too. “We lodged an FIR at the Hajo police station to offset this inhuman sport that traumatizes the birds,” said People For Animals' regional head Sangeeta Goswami. “We also moved the Morigaon police against buffalo fights.”

Ahatguri near Morigaon town, some 85 km from here in Morigaon district, organizes buffalo fights every Magh Bihu. This Bihu was no different with some 150 buffalos forced into the arena.

Like the birds, the buffalos are drugged to "bring out the fighters within".

Notably, the forest department notice came almost a year after the Supreme Court conditionally allowed jallikattu, the tradition bullfight in the Madurai region of Tamil Nadu.