The Centre’s decision to allow bull races has been welcomed by organisers of the Kila Raipur Games, popularly known as the ‘Rural Olympics’.
With the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change issuing a notification on Thursday in this regard, the stage is set for the resumption of the bullock-cart race in this year’s edition of the games.
Last year, the Supreme Court had banned bull races, citing cruelty to animals.
The notification states that bulls may be exhibited or trained as a performing animal at events such as Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock-cart races in Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat as per the customs of any community or practised traditionally as part of its culture.
Balwinder Singh Jagga, secretary of the Grewal Sports Club, said, “The traditional bullock-cart race is very popular in Kila Raipur. We are excited about bringing the sport back in the 80th edition of the games, scheduled to be held from February 4 to 7.”
Talking to HT, Animal Welfare Board of India vice-chairman Chinny Krishna, who is based in Tamil Naidu, said, “The notification goes against the judgment of the apex court.”
Jagdev Singh of Asi Kalan village, a bullock-cart race enthusiast, said, “This rural sport has been part of our tradition for decades. We ensure that animals are no subjected to cruelty during the games. We thank the Centre for allowing the sport to be restarted.”
Rajat Aggarwal, deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, said, “I am yet to get a copy of the notification. We will implement it as and when received.”
Norms for events
The notification states that such an event (bull race) should take place in any district where it is being traditionally held annually, at a place permitted under the supervision of the district collector or the district magistrate.
It adds that the bullock-cart race should be organised on a proper track, which should not exceed 2km in length. Also, bulls should be put to proper testing by the authorities of the animal husbandry department.