After TN gets Jallikattu, Maharashtra government looks to bring back bullock cart races
The BJP government’s populist move comes in response to demands by farmers’ organisations and elected representatives, after Tamil Nadu lifted ban on Jallikattumumbai Updated: Feb 28, 2017 09:48 IST
After Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the Maharashtra government may bring in a bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to pave the way for its centuries-old tradition of bullock cart racing.
CM Devendra Fadnavis has asked a law and judiciary department to look into bringing the bill during the first week of the budget session, scheduled to begin on March 6. Animal rights activists, however, are strongly opposed to the move, saying the race was banned as the bulls were being tortured. The BJP government’s populist move comes in response to demands by farmers’ organisations and elected representatives, after Tamil Nadu lifted ban on Jallikattu, brushing aside objections raised by animal rights organisations there. The popular races were banned i n Maharashtra in 2011, after bulls were categorised as performing animals under the Act. “The CM has sought legal opinion on the issue, after a discussion in the business advisory committee of the state legislature. Our endeavour would be to bring the bill in the first week of the budget session,” said Girish Bapat, the parliamentary affairs minister. Dr Manilal Valliyate, the director of veterinary affairs, PETA India, however said they will make a representation again to the state government on the issue.
“Following investigations into bull-cart races in Maharashtra in 2013, PETA’s investigators observed that bulls were being deprived of food, water and shade; were forcefully yanked by nose ropes, which caused their noses to bleed. They were physically abused in order to force them to run – even when exhausted – by having their tails bitten and twisted, being struck and having irritants rubbed into their mouths. PETA India will again write to the Maharashtra government to help them understand that bullock races are inherently cruel and the state must prevent any harm to bullocks, similar to what they did by banning slaughter of bullocks for meat,” Valliyate said.
Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, Shiv Sena MP from Shirur (Pune district ) and Peasants and Workers Party legislator Jayant Patil were among the politicians pursuing the issue with the state .
“The CM assured us last month with legal steps to ensure rollback of the ban about a month ago, but no announcement was made as code of conduct was in force. .. We are not averse to provisions for action against cruelty to the bulls in the law, but the centuries-old tradition should not be banned,”Jayant Patil said.
Adhalrao Patil said he had raised the issue in Parliament thrice and sought intervention of PM Narendra Modi for the amendment by the Centre. “If the act is amended by the Centre, it will be applicable all over the country, states will not have to go for an amendment at their level.”